European end higher as M&A prospects lift Telecom Italia, Mediaset
* Investors expect more ECB stimulus on Thursday
* Telecom Italia, Mediaset up on M&A prospects
* Credit Agricole rises on cost-cutting plans
* BMW falls after dividend disappointment (Adds closing prices)
By Danilo Masoni and Sudip Kar-Gupta
MILAN/LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Wednesday helped by gains in Italy's Telecom Italia and Mediaset on prospects of possible M&A deals with French rivals.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which fell 0.9 percent on Tuesday to around its lowest level in a week, rose 0.5 percent at 1,335.4 points, while euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index rose by the same amount.
The FTSEurofirst remains down by around 7 percent since the start of 2016, with stock markets having been hit by signs of a slowdown in China, the world's second-biggest economy, weaker euro zone data and concerns over Europe's banking sector.
But some investors said sentiment was helped by expectations of more monetary stimulus measures from the ECB on Thursday. Continuación...