June 4, 2018 / 3:46 PM / 15 days ago

UPDATE 1-Britain's FTSE driven up by dealmaking as trade war fears fade

* CYBG raises bid for Virgin Money

* DS Smith rises after bid for Spanish rival (Adds closing prices)

By Julien Ponthus

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) - British shares rose on Monday as a flurry of deals lifted investors’ spirits and helped brush aside fears of a full-blown trade war between the U.S. and some of its closest partners.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.5 percent higher amid optimism across trading centres in Europe about the political situation in Italy and Spain.

“Carrying over last Friday’s robust relief rally, investors continued to ignore the trade tensions sprouting out of the US in favor of celebrating the improved political situation in the Eurozone”, said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at Spreadex.

One survey showed on Sunday that British companies were growing more quickly after a weak start to the year adding to signs that the economy is recovering from the impact of an unusually cold winter.

Adding to other signs that Britain’s overall economy was picking up after a January-March slump, the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) held at 52.5, unchanged from April’s modest growth rate after a sharp contraction in March.

UK-based packaging group DS Smith rose 2.8 percent after it offered to buy Spanish rival Europac for an enterprise value of 1.9 billion euros to strengthen its business in western Europe and its supply chain.

Financial shares added the most points to the FTSE as news that Italy’s biggest bank, UniCredit, was exploring a merger with France’s Societe Generale boosted the sector.

In the UK, lender CYBG rose 2.2 percent after it raised its offer for challenger bank Virgin Money by 7 percent.

Rolls-Royce rose 0.3 percent after completing the sale of Germany-based diesel parts maker L’Orange to U.S.-based engineering company Woodward Inc with net proceeds totaling 673 million euros.

EasyJet gained 3.8 percent after Deutsche Bank lifted its target price for the stock and the sector benefited from the fact that AccorHotels said it was looking at buying a stake in Air France KLM. (Reporting by Julien Ponthus Editing by Keith Weir and Andrew Heavens)

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