LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a sharp rise on Thursday, tracking gains on Wall Street and Asia, after the U.S. Federal Reserve's move to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade was seen as a sign of confidence in the world's biggest economy.
Britain's FTSE, Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 shares indexes were seen rising 1.1 to 1.4 percent, according to spreadbetting firm IG.
The Fed made clear that the 25-basis point rate hike was a tentative beginning to a "gradual" tightening cycle, and that in deciding its next move it would put a premium on monitoring inflation, which remains mired below target.
"The fact is, the market would have found inspiration that there is no pre-set path for future rate hikes and the word 'gradual' was used liberally," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG said.
The Fed's policy statement noted the "considerable improvement" in the U.S. labor market, where the unemployment rate has fallen to 5 percent, and said policymakers are "reasonably confident" inflation will rise over the medium term to the Fed's 2 percent objective.
"The rates are still exceptionally low and monetary policy is still being set with a view to encourage growth, not rein growth in," Christopher Mahon, director of asset allocation research at Baring Asset Management, said in a note.
Warren Buffett has cut his stake in the reinsurer further to 3.04 percent from 4.6 percent previously, Munich Re said in a regulatory diclosure.
Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne was appointed chairman of the French oil and gas giant, combining both roles a year after they were split following the death of Christophe de Margerie, who had held both positions.
Total's board also decided to pay a second-quarter dividend of 0.61 euros per share to be paid in cash or discounted new shares.
The French carmaker said it would end supplementary pension payouts for board members and executives in a move that was expected to save 34 million euros.
The European plane maker has shortlisted Carlyle and KKR for the defence electronics unit it is selling, after the two U.S. buyout groups put in significantly higher offers than rivals, three people familiar with the matter said.
The French luxury company said it would pay an interim dividend or 1.50 euros a share for the 2015 financial year.
Switzerland's communications regulator on Wednesday forbid Swiss public television and radio broadcaster (SRG) at least temporarily from participating in a marketing venture it hopes to forge with Swisscom and media company Ringier. For more click
Financial investor Triton is among the bidders making binding offers for Bilfinger's Water Technologies unit but the sale is unlikely to go through this year, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported, citing financial sources. Bilfinger and Triton declined to comment, the newspaper said. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)