* New Ukraine worries cause DAX to underperform
* FTSEurofirst 300 closes up 0.3 pct at 1,343.27 points
* Alstom surges on GE bid speculation
* Euro STOXX 50 rises 0.4 pct to 3,189.81 points
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, April 24 European stock markets rose on
Thursday, as signs of a resurgence in corporate takeover
activity offset lingering worries over Ukraine.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which hit
a near 6-year high of 1,355.29 points earlier this month, closed
up 0.3 percent at 1,343.27 points.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
also rose 0.4 percent to 3,189.81 points.
High corporate cash piles and a slow improvement in the
economic outlook for Europe are encouraging companies to start
looking again at merger and acquisition opportunities.
On Thursday, shares in Alstom rose 10.9 percent
after Bloomberg News reported that General Electric was
in talks to buy the struggling French turbine and train maker.
Le Figaro newspaper said GE was only interested in Alstom's
energy assets while Alstom itself said it had not been informed
of any potential public tender offer.
Scania also jumped 8.6 percent, after its
fourth-largest shareholder said it would accept Volkswagen's
takeover offer for the truck maker, improving
prospects for the bid to go through despite strong opposition.
"The merger and acquisition activity we have been seeing is
supportive and confirms our view that there is more value left
in the European equity market," said Andrew Arbuthnott, head of
European large cap equity at Pioneer Investments.
However, Germany's DAX equity index, which hit a
record high of 9,794.05 points in January, underperformed gains
elsewhere in Europe by closing up only 0.1 percent at 9,548.68
Austria's ATX equity index also underperformed by
falling 0.2 percent, and traders attributed this to signs of
escalating tensions in Ukraine, since German and Austrian
companies are among the most exposed in Europe to Russia and
Both indexes lost ground after Russian Defence Minister
Sergei Shoigu was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying
that Russia had started military drills near the Ukrainian
border on Thursday, in response to operations by Ukrainian
forces against pro-Russian separatists and NATO exercises in
However, Andreas Clenow, hedge fund trader and principal at
ACIES Asset Management, said he saw Ukraine's troubles prompting
short-term pullbacks rather than a more prolonged setback. "When
the market gets scared - I'm a buyer," said Clenow.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Susan Fenton/Ruth Pitchford)