Robust factory data, M&A help Europe stocks extend rally
(Updates with closing levels, details)
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.6 pct, sixth positive session in row
* French, U.S. manufacturing data help boost sentiment
* All eyes on ECB meeting in wake of Weidmann comments
* Negative earnings momentum seen as "red flag"
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, April 1 (Reuters) - European stocks climbed on Tuesday, extending their two-week rally, helped by M&A fever as well as robust French and U.S. factory data.
France's blue chip index CAC 40 hit a 5-1/2 year high, gaining 0.8 percent on the day, after data showed the manufacturing sector emerging from a long decline to grow even more strongly in March than initially estimated.
Overall, data showed growth in euro zone manufacturing eased slightly as expected, but the broad rise in output made the bloc's economic recovery look more entrenched, fuelling hopes of a long-awaited rebound in corporate profits. Continuación...