February 8, 2018 / 8:38 AM / 2 years ago

M&A activity brightens lacklustre European stock markets

LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - A European recovery rally dissipated on Thursday with benchmarks across the region weighed down by commodities and technology stocks, while acquisition approaches sent Danish telecoms group TDC and Swiss insurer Swiss Re flying.

Europe’s STOXX 600 share index fell 0.2 percent by 0830 GMT, pulled lower by a 1.1 percent fall in basic resources , and weaker industrials stocks. The index was still down 2.5 percent year-to-date after equities worldwide took a battering this week.

Financials limited the damage, with euro zone banks gaining 0.5 percent after strong earnings from UniCredit and Societe Generale.

Merger and acquisition activity drove the top European gainers.

Danish telecoms company TDC led the STOXX 600, shooting up 16 percent and on track for its best day since June 2007, after a takeover approach from Macquarie and three Danish pension funds, which it rejected.

Swiss Re shares jumped 6 percent after the reinsurer said it was in talks with Japan’s SoftBank to sell a minority stake.

Strong results also boosted some stocks as investors’ focus turned back to the European earnings season.

Societe Generale shares jumped 5.5 percent after the bank reported forecast-beating results despite a quarterly drop in profits.

Compass Group, the world’s biggest catering firm, jumped 6.2 percent after it raised its expectations for revenue growth.

Chipmaker AMS gained 4 percent, with traders citing an upgrade to ‘overweight’ by JP Morgan. Schibsted sank 5.6 percent after traders said its third-quarter earnings missed forecasts. (Reporting by Helen Reid; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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