Major European share indexes on track for best quarter in years

martes 31 de marzo de 2015 04:13 GYT

* Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct

* The index set for best quarter since 2009

* A.P. MOLLER-MAERSK down 10 pct on dividend pay

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - European shares extended gains on Tuesday and headed for their best quarterly performance in several years, with Kingfisher leading the market higher after announcing it planned to sell about 60 B&Q stores in Britain.

Shares in Europe's biggest home-improvement retailer were up nearly 5 percent after it said it would close the stores, part of new Chief Executive Veronique Laury's plan to shake up the group.

"The new Chief Executive's transformation plan sounds promising, and these results underline why it is necessary. The reaction to the company's ambitious plans has been positive in early trade and adds to the company's recent share price rise," said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.3 percent at 1,600.74 points by 0751 GMT. It rose 1.2 percent on Monday and traded near a recent 7 1/2-year high of 1,613.80 points reached earlier in March. France's CAC was up 0.2 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 and the CAC, up 17 percent and 19 percent respectively since the start of the year, headed for their best quarter since the third quarter of 2009. The European Central Bank's bond-buying programme and the region's improved economic outlook helped boost the indexes.   Continuación...