Energy shares help European shares to edge higher
LONDON, April 6 (Reuters) - European equities edged higher in early trading on Wednesday after steep declines in the previous session, with energy shares gaining following a bounce back in crude oil prices.
The STOXX Europe Oil and Gas index rose 1.2 percent, the top sectoral gainer, after crude prices jumped on hopes for an agreement among exporters to freeze output. Shares in Royal Dutch Shell and BP rose around 1 percent.
Miners rose 0.8 percent after activity in the service sector of China, the world's biggest metals consumer, strengthened in March.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.2 percent at 1,290.71 points by 0718 GMT after falling 1.9 percent in the previous session.
The healthcare sector was flat, with investors digesting news of U.S. drug maker Pfizer agreeing on Tuesday to terminate its $160 billion agreement to acquire Botox maker Allergan, in a major victory to U.S. President Barack Obama's drive to stop tax-dodging corporate mergers.
Shares in Fortum and Swedbank fell 10 percent and 6.2 percent respectively as their shares traded without the attraction of their latest dividend payouts. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Alistair Smout)
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