M&A boost helps European shares get off to fast start in Q2
* FTSEurofirst 300 rises 0.4 pct
* Alstom, BHP Billiton up on spin-off hopes
* Metso surges as Weir considers bid
* Stimulus chatter in China, U.S. lends support
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) - European stocks got off to a brisk start in the second quarter, with merger-and-acquisition activity driving gains by industrial and mining stocks.
Alstom rose 4.5 percent on Tuesday, making it the top performer on the FTSEurofirst 300 in early trade. The French turbine and train maker said it would sell its heat exchange unit to Triton, a German private equity group.
Investors also welcomed reports global mining company BHP Billiton was weighing options to simplify its assets, including a possible spin-off of unwanted businesses. Its shares were up 2.1 percent.
Finland's Metso benefitted from a report that Britain's Weir Group was interested in buying its fellow engineering company, surging 12 percent to the top of the STOXX Europe 600. Continuación...