European Shares Modestly Higher Before Easter Break

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(RTTNews.com) - European stocks were modestly higher on Thursday as the easing of geopolitical and trade tensions prompted investors to cherry-pick shares ahead of the Easter break.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was up half a percent at 371.13 in late opening deals after rising half a percent the previous day.

The German DAX was rising 1 percent, France's CAC 40 index was moving up 0.6 percent and the U.K's FTSE 100 was up half a percent.

French automaker Renault jumped 4.5 percent on a Bloomberg report that it is in talks to merge with Japan'sNissan Motor. Rival Peugeot added 2.7 percent while BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen were up 2-3 percent.

Swiss Re rallied 3 percent on a Bloomberg report that Japan'sSoftbank Corp. is nearing an agreement to acquire stake in the reinsurance company.

Higher base metal prices helped lift miners, with Glencore up 1.3 percent and Anglo American rising 2.7 percent.

Shire lost 2 percent, a day after Japan's Takeda Pharma said it is considering a possible offer for the Irish drugmaker.

French outsourcing group Sodexo slumped 13 percent after cutting guidance for fiscal 2018.

On the data front, German unemployment decreased notably in March, while U.K. consumer sentiment strengthened to the highest level in ten months in the month, separate reports showed.

The ONS's third estimate of growth showed U.K. GDP grew by 0.4 percent in the final quarter of 2017, unchanged from the second reading in February. The annual growth has been revised up to 1.8 percent from a previous reading of 1.7 percent.

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This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Politics

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