German data helps keep European shares near highs
LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - European equity indexes were flat to higher at the open on Tuesday, helped by better-than-expected German retail sales data and merger speculation in the Portuguese banking sector.
German retail sales rose more by 2.9 percent month on month and 5.3 percent year on year in January, more than economists had expected, helping Germany'x Dax index to rise 0.2 percent in early deals.
At 0810 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.1 percent at 1,562.36 points, just off a 7-year high set on Monday.
Shares in Portugal's Banco BPI and Banco Comercial Portugues were each up 8 percent on speculation about a possible merger between the banks. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Atul Prakash)
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