19 de diciembre de 2014 / 8:48 / en 3 años

Tech stocks lead European shares higher on M&A boost

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.6 pct after Thursday’s 3 pct rally

* Air France tumbles after third profit warning

* Energy shares fall again as oil prices under pressure

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, Dec 19 (Reuters) - European stocks climbed early on Friday, with French information technology services firm Atos SE leading a rally in tech shares after unveiling a deal to buy Xerox Corp’s IT outsourcing arm.

Atos, set to pay 1.05 billion for the unit, said the deal was expected to boost its earnings per share by 10 percent as early as the first year.

“The deal makes a lot of strategic sense for Atos. The implied acquisition multiple is of 8.75 times expected earnings (and) reflects a fair price, given similar deals in the United States,” a Paris-based trader said.

Shares in Atos surged 7.2 percent, leading gains in the STOXX Europe 600 Technology sector, which was up 1.1 percent at 0830 GMT.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.6 percent at 1,364.23 points, adding to a three percent rally on Thursday.

The gains in Europe mirrored a surge on Wall Street on Thursday where the Dow posted its best one-day rise in three years and extended a rally sparked by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s commitment to take a “patient” approach toward raising interest rates.

The market’s gains came even as oil prices stayed under pressure, suggesting equity investors were beginning to see the positives in lower fuel costs and increased consumer spending power.

“The drop in oil price has recently put pressure on the equity market. However, (there is) historical evidence that a fall in oil price is a positive for equities, with a clear acceleration in performance after six months,” Roland Kaloyan, head of European equity strategy at Societe Generale, wrote in a note.

Air France-KLM bucked the trend, tumbling 7.5 percent after the airline issued its third profit warning in six months, cutting its 2014 earnings goal by 200 million euros as higher-than-expected costs from a recent pilot strike added to weaker unit revenues.

Also losing ground on Friday, shares in oil and gas companies fell again as oil prices dipped. Seadrill fell 9.4 percent, Afren was down 6.1 percent and Technip up 2.6 percent.

Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.7 percent, Germany’s DAX index up 0.6 percent, and France’s CAC 40 up 0.7 percent.

Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Gareth Jones)

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