* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, energy sector index up 5.5 pct
* Sky rallies after sources say Vivendi mulling takeover
* Upcoming U.S. earnings seen hit by strong dollar
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, April 8 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early trading on Wednesday, led by a rally in energy stocks after Royal Dutch Shell agreed to buy BG Group for 47 billion pounds ($70 billion) in the first oil super-merger in a decade.
Shares in BG jumped 39 percent, while Tullow Oil soared 10 percent, BP gained 4 percent, Repsol added 1.8 percent and Total climbed 1 percent. Shares in Royal Dutch Shell fell 2.8 percent.
The STOXX energy sector index, hammered in the past year as oil prices tumbled, was up 5 percent.
“The sector has been ripe for consolidation given the bearish outlook for oil prices, and we could see other takeovers in the industry in the coming weeks and months. Overall, the M&A wave which is spreading to a number of sectors is very good for the market,” Saxo Bank trader Andrea Tueni said.
At 0749 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,615.30 points.
The benchmark index rose 1.6 percent on Tuesday as FedEx’s 4.4 billion-euro ($4.8 billion) bid for Dutch package delivery firm TNT Express sparked a rally in the sector.
The M&A fever was also spreading to media on Wednesday. Shares in Sky rose 3.6 percent after sources said French media conglomerate Vivendi was looking at a possible acquisition of the pay-TV group, which has a market value of 17.6 billion pounds.
Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.5 percent, Germany’s DAX index down 0.1 percent, and France’s CAC 40 up 0.3 percent.
Bucking the trend, shares in carmakers lost ground, trimming gains made since the start of the year, after a number of brokers raised doubts about valuation ratios in the sector.
Peugeot was down 1.7 percent and BMW down 1.8 percent.
Investors awaited the start of the U.S. earnings season, set to kick off later on Wednesday with results from aluminium company Alcoa.
First-quarter S&P 500 earnings are projected to have declined by 2.8 percent from a year ago -- which would make the quarter the worst for results since the third quarter of 2009 -- hurt by the surging dollar, falling oil prices and another severe winter.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
Editing by Larry King