Travel and leisure stocks lend support to European shares
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.1 pct
* IHG, Accor lead gainers
* FTSE outperforms after holiday
By Alistair Smout
EDINBURGH, May 27 (Reuters) - Gains in the travel and leisure sector helped support European shares near multi-year highs on Tuesday, as chatter about mergers and acquisitions focused on several hotel firms.
Intercontinental Hotel Group jumped 5.2 percent, the top performer on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, after British media reported interest from an unidentified bidder in the United States.
French peer Accor Europe's largest hotel group, gained 2.2 percent after it said on Tuesday it had agreed to buy the assets of 97 hotels for about 900 million euros, in a move the company said would boost earnings.
In all, the STOXX Europe 600 Travel and Leisure sector rose 1.6 percent, the biggest sectoral riser, to hit its highest level since 2007.
"If you've got confidence in hotels you've got confidence in the consumer," said Charles Stanley analyst Jeremy Batstone-Carr. "Strength in consumer-facing sectors reflects a belief that pressure is easing on disposable incomes," he added, while noting that incomes in many economies remain squeezed. Continuación...