European Stocks Stay Close to January Peak

Markets Reuters

(Reuters)

European shares rose for a fifth consecutive session on Monday with mining stocks touching their highest in 2-1/2-years on stronger copper prices and with takeover offers sending German drugmaker Stada to a record high.

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The STOXX 600 rose 0.2 percent, just a touch below its January peak when the pan-European index hit its highest level since end-2015. UK's FTSE was up 0.1 percent.

The Basic Resources index rose as much as 2.4 percent before reducing its gains to around 1.8 percent. It led sectoral gainers in Europe as copper prices hit their highest in 20 months in heavy trade, driven up by supply worries after shipments were shut off from the world's two biggest copper mines.

More than 300 people wearing hoods vandalized property at the world's largest copper mine at the weekend and forced contract workers to stop work during an ongoing strike at BHP Billiton's Escondida in Chile.

"This strike is unlikely to be resolved quickly," analysts at Jefferies said in a note.

Shares in BHP added 1.4 percent, while other mining heavyweights Rio Tinto and Anglo American rose 0.9 and 1.7 percent respectively.

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Still in the sector Swedish mining and smelting firm Boliden surged 2.5 percent, buoyed by broker upgrades following stronger than expected results last week.

Elsewhere activity was driven by more merger and acquisition news after German drugmaker Stada said it had received two offers for the acquisition of the company, one of which is private equity group Cinven Partners LLP.

Stada rose 13.4 percent, leading gainers on the STOXX 600 index and topping the 56 euros per share offered by Cinven.

"Disposal of the company now looks almost certain," Natixis analyst Philippe Lanone wrote in a note, adding that the price offered by Cinven could be overshot.

Osram rose after the lighting group received U.S. approval for the 400 million euro sale of its LEDvance lamps unit to a consortium of Chinese bidders.

Top loser in Europe was Swedish defense firm Saab AB . Its shares fell 2.4 percent after its quarterly operating profit and its dividend proposal fell short of expectations.

(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)