Fading trade fears support European shares; M&A, earnings in focus

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Fading trade fears support European shares; M&A, earnings in focus
Credit: © Reuters.

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* STOXX 600 rises hesitantly

* ACS gains after Atlantia confirms talks over Abertis

* Abertis shares down 3.8 pct

* Countrywide sinks 20 pct

LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - European shares inched up inearly deals on Thursday, as dealmaking gathered pace and fearsof a trade war faded, although some disappointing earningsupdates weighed.

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX edged up 0.1 percent by0830 GMT, with defensive sectors leading the way while oil andmaterials stocks weighed.

Merger and acquisition news drove big stock moves.

Spanish construction firm ACS ACS.MC rose to the top ofthe STOXX, up 9.3 percent after reports it was in talks withItaly's Atlantia ATL.MI to break up Abertis ABE.MC in aneffort to avoid a bidding war for the highway concessionscompany. which confirmed preliminary talks with ACS overAbertis, shares also gained 3.8 percent, while Abertis fell 3.9percent.

Meanwhile Renault RENA.PA shares fell to the bottom ofFrance's CAC 40 .FCHI after the French government said itwasn't prepared to sell its stake in the carmaker.

The stock had touched its highest since Dec 2015 onWednesday after Reuters reported Nissan was in talks to buy theFrench government's stake.

Earnings took their toll on some stocks.

French supermarket Casino CASP.PA dropped 5.8 percentafter its results, with traders pointing to disappointing freecash flow and earnings figures. Boss BOSSn.DE shares fell 4.9 percent after theGerman fashion house struck a more cautious tone on profit as itkept up investment in revamping stores and its website. Westminster BOSN.AS sank 10.6 percent, the worstSTOXX 600 performer, after the construction and engineering firmreported full-year earnings and said it would be a "challenge"to match 2017 results. the large-cap space, UK estate agency Countrywide CWD.L sank 21 percent after it reported a 22.5 percent drop infull-year earnings, bruised by poor performance in its mainsales and lettings business.

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