UPDATE 2-M&A talk lights up European stocks

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
UPDATE 2-M&A talk lights up European stocks
Credit: © Reuters.

* STOXX reverses losses, ends 0.4 pct higher

* Renault , Smurfit Kappa rise on deal-making talk

* France's ADP up on privatisation report

* Key Trump adviser resigns (Recasts, adds quote and detail, updates prices at close)

By Julien Ponthus and Kit Rees

LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - European shares clawed backlosses on Wednesday as deal-making speculation reinvigoratedtrading following a muted start to the session.

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX index ended with a gainof 0.4 percent, climbing steadily through the day and shakingoff worries over the resignation of Donald Trump's economicadviser Gary Cohn, seen as a bulwark against protectionistforces within the U.S. government. Shares on Wall Street fell.

Shares in tech stocks .SXAP led gainers with a 1.2 percentrise, while autos .SXAP advanced 0.6 percent. Renault RENA.PA was the biggest auto gainer, up 5.6 percent followinga Reuters report that Nissan 7201.T was in talks with the carmaker to buy the bulk of the French state's 15 percent Renaultholding. among French stocks, shares in ADP ADP.PA jumped 6.1percent after a media report said the government would go aheadwith plans to privatise the French airport operator and sell its50.6 percent stake entirely. construction group Vinci SGEF.PA , which has an 8percent stake in ADP and expressed an interest in acquiringmore, rose 0.4 percent.

Paper and packaging firm Smurfit Kappa SKG.I saw a secondsession of gains, up 6.3 percent to be among the biggest gainerswith traders citing a Bloomberg report that the Irish firm wasprepared to open takeover talks at 40 euros per share. follows Smurfit Kappa's rejection of an 8 billion-eurotakeover offer from U.S. peer International Paper IP.N onTuesday. psychology amongst CEOs and boards is probably 'let'sstart doing the deals' rather than waiting for tomorrow, so Ithink you'll see a pick-up in corporate activity on both sides,"said Philip Dicken, head of European equities at ColumbiaThreadneedle Investments.

"Things are getting better, valuations are ticking up, andthe cost of debt is going to be more expensive ... so suddenlyyou're forced into doing something and you want a piece of thisaction when it comes to the growth," he said, referring to CEOs.

British plane engine maker Rolls-Royce RR.L was the bestSTOXX index performer, surging 11.5 percent after saying itremained on track to meet its financial goals for 2020. at UBS said that Rolls-Royce's results were"strong" and that a major milestone had been passedsuccessfully.

Among the fallers, the advertising sector retreated afterthe Financial Times said P&G PG.N would cut agency spending by1.25 billion dollars over three years. France's Publicis PUBP.PA and Britain's WPP WPP.L fell 1.9 percent and 3.9percent respectively.

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