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European shares rebound on corporate results and takeover activity

European shares rebound on corporate results and takeover activityLONDON: European shares rebounded on Tuesday, lifted by strong company results and corporate takeover activity after falling in the previous five sessions due to concerns over China’s growth. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 1.1 percent at 1,545.79 points.

The index had tumbled in the last five sessions and touched a two-week low on Monday. The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index rose 1.2 percent. Both the FTSEurofirst and the Euro STOXX are up around 13 percent so far in 2015.

The STOXX Europe 600 Insurance Index advanced 1.2 percent, buoyed by Zurich Insurance’s possible bid for rival RSA, which caused RSA to surge 18 percent in its biggest one-day percentage gain since 1992.

Other deals saw Melrose Industries jump 9.6 percent after agreeing to sell its Elster business to Honeywell, while engineering group GKN gained 7.3 percent after moving to buy Fokker Technologies.

Kering climbed 5.6 percent after Gucci, the flagship brand of the French luxury group, posted a rise in underlying second-quarter sales. However, Michelin fell 6.1 percent after warning price cuts were taking a bigger-than-expected toll on its earnings.

“The market has been preoccupied with uncertainties related to China in the last couple of days, but those concerns are taking a back seat today and equities are getting some support from company earnings and M&A,” said Gerhard Schwarz, head of equity strategy at Baader Bank in Munich.

In the past five days, concerns over China’s economic growth had dominated the market, eclipsing previous worries over Greece’s debt crisis.

The Greek stock market may re-open this week after having been shut since late June due to capital controls. Shanghai shares fell again on Tuesday even after Beijing pledged to lend support, while investors were also expecting a two-day US Federal Reserve meeting starting later in the day to signal that US interest rates may rise in September.

Higher rates can often hit stock markets, as they boost returns on bonds and cash, and can result in bigger debt costs for listed companies. Nevertheless, some traders said the outlook for European shares looked resilient.

Even if rates go up in the United States, they are expected to stay at record lows in Europe, while the European Central Bank (ECB) is also boosting liquidity to stimulate economic growth in the region.

“In Asia, it’s a whole different story, but in Europe I’m not too concerned,” said Andreas Clenow, hedge fund manager at ACIES Asset Management.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

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