European shares hit two-week high, led by Standard Life

miércoles 26 de marzo de 2014 07:43 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.8 pct; highest since March 12

* Standard Life gains on Ignis acquisition

* Analysts see equity markets trapped in range

By Tricia Wright

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - European shares hit two-week highs on Wednesday, led by UK insurer Standard Life on deal news, with broad sentiment buoyed by stronger U.S. data as well as optimism over possible stimulus measures in the euro zone and China.

Standard Life rose 5.2 percent in brisk trade after it bought Ignis Asset Management for 390 million pounds - a week after the British finance minister overhauled the country's pensions and savings industry.

"The move is strategic and absolutely necessary to diversify their overall business away from their traditional pensions and life insurance area in light of the bombshell news announced from the 2014 UK budget on how pensions are handled," Jordan Hiscott, senior trader at Gekko Global Markets, said.

Hiscott's six-month target price for the company is 437 pence, its May 2013 peak and some 11 percent above Wednesday's price.

Trading volume in Standard Life was already around its 90-day daily average near midsession, against half seen on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300.   Continuación...