Leisure stocks push European equities to multi-year high
* FTSEurofirst 300 index rises 0.2 percent
* Intercontinental Hotel gains on M&A talk
* Travel and leisure index top gainer in Europe
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, May 27 (Reuters) - European shares climbed to multi-year highs on Tuesday, with encouraging U.S. economic data, mergers and acquisitions talk and expectations of more policy easing by the European central Bank improving sentiment.
Latest economic numbers showed orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods unexpectedly rose in April, home prices advanced more than expected in March and consumer confidence rose to near its highest since 2008.
The market was supported by comments from ECB chief Mario Draghi on Monday bolstering the view that it will cut euro zone interest rates again next week. Other policymakers drove home the message on Tuesday.
Acquisition talks also helped the market. The STOXX Europe 600 Travel and Leisure index was up 1.4 percent by 1446 GMT, the highest since 2007, led by Intercontinental Hotel Group after media reported deal interest from an unidentified bidder in the United States.
"There is a lot of cash on corporate balance sheets and there is a big incentive for them to go out and deploy that cash to generate growth and cost synergies," Henk Potts, equity strategist at Barclays Wealth, said. Continuación...