December 6, 2019 / 8:33 AM / 2 months ago

European shares edge higher, M&A boosts insurers

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Dec 6 (Reuters) - European shares inched higher on Friday as comments from U.S. President Donald Trump that trade talks with China were “moving right along” helped inject some calm into the markets after a rocky week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3% by 0819 GMT, with banks, technology firms and retail companies leading the gains.

M&A activity boosted insurers after Phoenix Group Holdings Plc said it would buy the British insurance unit of Swiss Re in a cash-and-shares deal worth 3.2 billion pounds ($4.1 billion). Swiss Re AG shares rose 2.8%, while Phoenix Group was up 1.6%.

Despite Friday’s gains, the STOXX 600 was on track to post its biggest weekly decline in two months after conflicting headlines on trade and weak euro zone economic indicators made for a volatile trading session.

Fresh numbers showed Germany’s industrial output unexpectedly dropped in October, reviving worries about its economic growth outlook. Frankfurt-listed shares rose 0.2%. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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