European stocks rebound

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IOL pic dec8 euro bank notes Reuters File photo: Lee Jae-Won

London - European shares resumed their upward trend on Thursday as mergers and acquisitions and a solid update from France's Schneider Electric fuelled a rally in the industrial sector.

Shares in Alstom jumped 10.8 percent to the top of the FTSEurofirst 300 after Bloomberg reported that General Electric was in talks to buy the turbine and train maker for about $13 billion. The French firm said it had not been informed of any potential public tender offer.

Scania was the second-biggest riser, up 10 percent, after its fourth-largest shareholder said it would accept Volkswagen's takeover offer for the truck maker.

M&A activity in Europe is gathering momentum and has helped European shares advance in recent days, as drug companies GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis disclosed an asset swap and speculation emerged about a Pfizer bid for AstraZeneca.

“The markets at the moment are constantly looking for reassurance, with all that is going on in Ukraine, and M&A activity shows in the corporate world at least it's business as usual,” said Farhan Ahmad, a trader at Tradenext.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.6 percent at 1,346.81 points at 07h57 GMT, recouping most of the losses suffered the previous day and resuming an advance begun last week. The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.8 percent at 3,199.81 points.

The STOXX 600 Europe Industrial goods and services index was up 1 percent, also supported by a 4.8 percent rise in Schneider Electric. The electrical-gear maker reported a rise in first-quarter sales and said business in Western Europe had improved.

Tech shares also rebounded after US consumer giant Apple approved another $30 billion in share buybacks and social network Facebook said its mobile advertising business accelerated in the first three months of the year, helping it beat forecasts.

About a quarter of S&P 500 companies have reported results so far in the earnings season. Seventy-two percent have reported earnings in line with or beating forecasts, with profits up 2.8 percent overall, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.

In Europe, about 10 percent of STOXX 600 companies have reported results so far, with 54 percent in line with or beating forecasts. - Reuters

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