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Europe: Transatlantic dealmaking sends shares back to four-year peak

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European shares posted their best day in six weeks on Monday, as transatlantic deals by Louis Vuitton owner LVMH and Swiss drugmaker Novartis, as well as hopes that the United States and China would seal a trade deal, boosted sentiment.

[BENGALURU] European shares posted their best day in six weeks on Monday, as transatlantic deals by Louis Vuitton owner LVMH and Swiss drugmaker Novartis, as well as hopes that the United States and China would seal a trade deal, boosted sentiment.

Shares of LVMH rose 2 per cent as the French firm agreed to buy US jeweller Tiffany for US$16.2 billion in its biggest acquisition yet.

Tiffany's lower-priced rival, Denmark's Pandora, gained 1 per cent, while other luxury goods makers such as Gucci parent Kering, Italian jacket maker Moncler and London's Burberry gained between 0.4 per cent and 2.7 per cent.

"Some companies in the retail sector have complained about softer demand, but luxury brands tend to hold up well when economies cool as the mega rich usually fare better in a cooler economic climate," said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets in London.

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Novartis shares were a big boost to the Stoxx 600 index on the back of the drugmaker's US$9.7 billion takeover of The Medicines, which seeks to expand its portfolio of medicines treating cardiovascular diseases.

Travel and leisure and healthcare led gains across European sub-sectors, which were all in the positive territory.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 1 per cent higher at a four-year peak, as major stock indexes in United States hit record highs .

The benchmark index bounced back from last week's marginal loss, which had broken a run of a six straight weeks of gains, fuelled largely by hopes of a trade deal.

A report that said China and the United States were very close to a "phase one" deal added to optimism from Friday, when leaders of both nations had expressed their interest in a deal.

China also said on Sunday it would seek to improve protections for intellectual property rights, a major demand of the United States in trade negotiations.

"China has appeared to relent to a degree on intellectual property, a key sticking point to the talks thus far," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com. "This could be an important step forward, but we as ever will only believe it when we see it."

Among other stocks, Prysmian gained about 5 per cent after the cable maker's troubled Western Link high voltage connection was taken over by clients, reducing further the near-term risk for the company.

Spain-based wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa jumped more than 8 per cent after Bloomberg reported that Germany's Siemens was considering buying Iberdrola's 8 per cent stake in the company.

In economic data, the Ifo economic institute said business morale in Germany improved in November, but indicated that manufacturing in Europe's powerhouse was still stuck in a recession.

REUTERS