Buoyant carmakers keep European stock rally on track

miércoles 2 de julio de 2014 12:22 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 ends up 0.2 pct

* Orange, Bouygues, Iliad drop as telecom merger hopes fade

* Carmakers rally after upbeat U.S. auto sales

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, July 2 (Reuters) - European shares inched up on Wednesday, adding to the previous day's sharp rally, though dashed hopes of merger moves among French telecoms companies kept a lid on gains.

Automakers were among the top gainers, with Daimler up 0.8 percent and BMW up 0.6 percent.

Data showed U.S. monthly auto sales reached levels not seen since before the financial crisis, and annualised figures were the best in eight years.

But shares in Orange, Bouygues, Iliad and Numericable tumbled 2.0-3.5 percent after Orange said it was dropping the idea of joining in the consolidation of France's telecoms market.

The stocks had rallied in recent months, boosted by expectation of a wave of mergers after a heated battle for the takeover of Vivendi's SFR mobile division, snatched by Numericable.   Continuación...