European shares extend rally as euro falls

lunes 16 de marzo de 2015 05:04 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.5 pct, hits 7-year high

* Lafarge, Holcim drop as conflict over merger terms deepens

* Stronger dollar seen halting U.S. earnings growth in 2015

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, March 16 (Reuters) - European stocks rose on Monday, shrugging off losses on Wall Street and extending their recent sharp rally, as investors bet that a renewed drop in the euro would boost the region's economy and lift exporter earnings.

Shares in Lafarge fell 4.2 percent and Holcim dipped 1.4 percent as an argument deepened between the two cement majors over the terms of their planned merger.

"We expect this very public showing of disunity will be seen as raising the likelihood of a break-up in the deal, although we believe that an agreement will ultimately be reached," Bernstein analysts wrote in a note.

Shares in Irish peer CRH - which has agreed to buy assets from Lafarge and Holcim as they seek to win regulatory approval for their planned merger - were down 2.9 percent.

At 0837 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.5 percent at 1,586.06 points, a fresh seven-year high.   Continuación...