December 12, 2017 / 8:44 AM / 2 years ago

M&A dominates Europe share trading; weak banks offset oil boost

LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Mergers and acquisitions dominated early European share trading on Tuesday, while strong oil and tech stocks were not enough to offset a decline in banks.

French tech consultancy Atos’s 4.3 billion euro takeover offer for Dutch cybersecurity company Gemalto helped the tech sector outperform. Gemalto’s shares rocketed 34 percent to 45.2 euros - just below the bid price.

Gemalto’s board has until Friday to review the unsolicited bid, which Atos hopes will boost its digital security credentials. Four profit warnings in a year have dented Gemalto’s performance. Atos shares rose 4.5 percent.

The pan-European STOXX 600 slipped 0.1 percent and leading euro zone stocks fell 0.3 percent. Amsterdam’s AEX climbed 0.3 percent, pushed higher by Gemalto.

Strong oil stocks limited losses after Brent crude jumped to over $65 overnight as an outage in the Forties North Sea pipeline sucked supply out of the market.

The oil and gas sector, which has been the worst-performing this year, jumped 0.6 percent, the biggest boost to overall gains.

A pullback in financials overwhelmed the lift from oil. HSBC , Societe Generale and BNP Paribas were the biggest fallers.

In other deal-driven moves, shares in French commercial real estate company Unibail-Rodamco fell 3.5 percent after it offered to buy shopping mall owner Westfield Corp for $16 billion.

Dialog Semiconductor shares rose 5.2 percent, with one trader pointing to a report the company’s chips were to be used in Huawei’s Mate 10 Android smartphones.

Dialog’s shares have plummeted this year due to concerns over its reliance on top customer Apple, which could in-source its power chip production.

Genmab was the worst-performing stock, down 5.8 percent after its research and development update in which it flagged 2018 expense growth of 40 to 50 percent due to pipeline investments.

South African retailer Steinhoff meanwhile jumped 32 percent in a modest relief rally, which still left its shares at around a quarter of their price before accounting irregularities emerged.

Reporting by Helen Reid; editing by Tom Pfeiffer

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