European shares hit 3-week high on merger news

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) – European equities edged higher
to hit a three-week closing high on Monday on merger news, with
strong Rhodia shares on Solvay’s 3.4 billion euro bid leading
chemical stocks, and on signs of improving economic outlook.

The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) index of top European shares
provisionally finished 0.1 percent firmer at 1,142,84 points,
the highest close since March 9.

“Positive sentiment is coming from mergers. We will see more
mergers and acquisitions and it is one of the reasons why the
stock market is still trading at these higher levels,” a
London-based equity trader said.

Chemical shares featured among the top gainers, with the
STOXX Europe 600 chemical index (.SX4P: Quote, Profile, Research) rising 1.3 percent.
Chemical group Rhodia (RHA.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) jumped 48 percent after Solvay
(SOLB.BR: Quote, Profile, Research) launched a bid for its French rival.

Financials, however, topped the fallers’ list, with the
STOXX Europe banking index (.SX7P: Quote, Profile, Research) down 0.6 percent and the
insurance sector index (.SXIP: Quote, Profile, Research) falling 1 percent.
(Reporting by Atul Prakash)

European shares hit 3-week high on merger news