July 4, 2017 / 9:20 AM / 9 months ago

Worldpay, M&A in focus as European shares consolidate

* STOXX 600 down 0.2 percent

* Worldpay soars after confirming approach

* Crude prices remove support for European shares

* Tech stocks fall after Nasdaq glitch

* Italy’s banking stocks hit 15-month high after Carige cash call (ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

By Helen Reid

LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - A spate of dealmaking news swept European stocks on Tuesday, with Worldpay soaring on a bid approach, helping to mitigate a downward pull caused by retreating crude prices and tech stocks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.2 percent by 0820 GMT, in line with a dip in Euro zone stocks and blue-chips. Britain’s FTSE was also 0.2 percent lower.

On Monday, European shares had their strongest day since 24 April, when Emmanuel Macron won the first round of France’s presidential election.

But tech stocks weighed on markets on Tuesday, after a seeming glitch caused some big name Nasdaq stocks to appear as if their prices had been slashed.

The closure of the U.S. market for the 4 July national holiday also meant volumes were lower than usual.

“Today is a consolidation day after gains yesterday, as we don’t have a U.S. market,” said Angelo Meda, head of equities at Banor Capital.

Dealmaking was back with a vengeance as a key driver of individual share moves.

Payments company Worldpay shares soared 21 percent to a record high after it said it was approached for acquisition by Vantiv and JPMorgan.

This came after Danish rival Nets said on Monday it had received offers. Nets and another German rival Wirecard rose more than 4 percent.

“This is one of the most intriguing sub-sectors in the financials space,” said Meda.

“There are a lot of companies still, and we are probably going to have only one or two big leaders in the payments space.”

EDP was a top gainer, up 3.2 percent after Spain’s Gas Natural approached the Portuguese utility for a $40 billion merger which would create Europe’s fourth biggest utility by market capitalisation.

“There’s been no major cross-border activity for the last five to six years, so this is one of the sectors where we expect some to happen,” said Meda.

Gas Natural shares, meanwhile, fell 0.6 percent.

Shares in French rival EDF also dropped 3.8 percent after HSBC downgraded the stock to “reduce”.

Clariant shares gained 3.9 percent after two activist investors upped their stake in the Swiss chemicals firm in opposition to a planned merger with U.S. firm Huntsman .

Baader Helvea analysts said the move could make a counterbid more likely.

And the prospect of suitors Bain and Cinven getting regulatory approval for a renewed offer for Stada sent the generic drugmaker’s shares up 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Italy’s FTSE MIB outperformed as banking stocks rose 1 percent to a 15-month high after Carige , the country’s ninth-biggest bank, approved measures aimed at rebuilding its balance sheet, including a cash call of up to 500 million euros ($568 million).

Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Kit Rees and Raissa Kasolowsky

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