February 27, 2018 / 8:46 AM / a year ago

Comcast's Sky bid pushes European media stocks to month high

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LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - M&A activity spiced up a more reserved start to European share trading on Tuesday after Comcast made a surprise counterbid for pay-TV group Sky , sending its shares soaring.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.1 percent by 0833 GMT, while the UK’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent.

Shares in Sky jumped more than 18 percent on the back of Comcast’s $31 billion offer, which could scupper Fox’s plan to buy out Sky and sell it to Walt Disney.

Sky shares were trading well above Comcast’s offer price, suggesting some investors expect Fox/Disney to come back with a higher offer.

Europe’s media index was the top-performing sector, up 1.7 percent at a one-month high. Shares in British broadcaster and content producer ITV rose 2.3 percent.

Results were once again in focus, with UK housebuilder Persimmon advancing 12 percent after it reported a jump in full-year earnings and a higher reservations rate and boosted its interim dividend.

The results fired up the whole sector, with Berkeley up 2.9 percent and Taylor Wimpey climbing 2.8 percent.

Outside of the STOXX, troubled subprime lender Provident Financial saw its shares soar 37 percent after saying it would raise 331 million pounds via a rights issue.

The broader stocks performance was more muted, however, ahead of testimony from the new U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell later in the day - watched for clues about future rate hikes and his view on recent market volatility.

Concerns over rising inflation and higher bond yields sparked a global equity market sell-off at the beginning of February, but as bond yields have eased this has taken the pressure off equity indexes slightly.

Reporting by Kit Rees; editing by Tom Pfeiffer

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