M&A in pharmaceuticals helps European shares extend rally
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 1.3 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 1.4 pct
* Indexes extend gains after strong consumer confidence data
* Pharma boosted by AstraZeneca bid talk, GSK-Novartis swap
* Philips drops 4.7 pct after disappointing earnings
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, April 22 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Tuesday, boosted by mergers and acquisitions activity in the pharmaceuticals sector and by bullish euro zone consumer confidence data.
The STOXX Europe 600 health care index rose 2.9 percent as AstraZeneca rallied on speculation about a bid approach from U.S. major Pfizer, while a deal to swap assets boosted GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis .
The global pharmaceuticals sector has seen a flurry of deal-making recently and analysts expect M&A activity to be a key driver for the shares in the coming months.
"Any stock in the industry is a target apart from the ones that are too big (such as Pfizer and Novartis)," said Lars Hevreng, an analyst at SEB Equities. Continuación...