April 25, 2017 / 8:40 AM / 3 months ago

European shares firm as earnings, M&A back in play

3 Min Read

* STOXX 600 up 0.1 pct

* France's CAC pauses for breath

* AMS jumps after results

* Dior up after buyout deal (Adds detail and quotes, updates prices)

By Kit Rees

LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - Deal-making and earnings underpinned European stock markets on Tuesday as focus shifted back to fundamentals and away from politics, for now.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.1 percent, on track for its fifth session of straight gains.

A win for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the first round of the French presidential election on Monday sparked a global rally in risk assets as investors breathed a sigh of relief over the decreased chances of a political upset.

"You've got all these positive factors in Europe's favour, but the problem is of course that we have had some political road bumps to contend with this year," Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index, said.

"That is the main cautionary factor that is this fly in the ointment for what are a positive set of circumstances overall."

France's CAC 40, which rallied more than 4 percent on Monday, was up 0.1 percent.

Earnings were firmly in focus, with shares in AMS surging 15.7 percent to a record high after the chipmaker reported first quarter revenues above its own forecast and added that it may raise its mid-term revenue growth target.

"Much of the future growth for ams AG is centered on the combination of unit and $ content opportunities on a range of leading consumer smartphone platforms, with ams well positioned across the three leading vendors Apple, Samsung and Huawei, but it is not the only growth driver," Neil Campling, global head of TMT research at Northern Trust Capital Markets, said.

Well-received earnings also boosted shares in auto stock Volvo, which rose 7.7 percent after beating first quarter forecasts.

M&A action also fueled shares, with luxury goods firm Christian Dior rocketing around 12 percent to hit a fresh all-time high after a buyout deal.

LVMH and billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault announced a deal to simplify their relationship with Christian Dior by buying out its minority shareholders, aimed at boosting LVMH's earnings.

LVMH's shares hit a record level and traded 3 percent higher, while peer Hermes fell 5.2 percent.

Results, however, weighed on Swedish mining and smelting firm Boliden, which fell 7.3 percent.

Boliden's core operating profit missed forecasts by 6 percent, blaming a fall in volume of free metals at copper smelters from unusually high levels seen in the previous quarter.

Shares in Whitbread also dropped, down more than 7 percent after the Costa Coffee owner reported results and said that it expected consumer confidence to dip next year. (Reporting by Kit Rees, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)

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