Telecoms deal lifts Europe, FTSE shines despite record GDP slump

elecommunications stocks boosted European bourses on Wednesday after a billion dollar takeover offer for Switzerland's Sunrise Communications, while London's FTSE 100 gained on bets of more stimulus after a collapse in UK's quarterly economic output.

The pan-European STOXX 600 (STOXX) rose 0.3%, gaining for a fourth straight session.

Sunrise Communications (S:SRCG) surged 26% to hit a record high after Liberty Global (O:LBTYA) launched a takeover offer for the Swiss telecoms group in a deal valued at 6.8 billion Swiss francs ($7.40 billion).

Shares in German telecoms investor Freenet (DE:FNTGn), Sunrise's largest shareholder, jumped 15.4%, while the broader sector (SXKP) gained 1.6%.

"Consolidation between operators would be positive for the industry as it would reduce competitive pressure on prices and improve the return on capital," Domenico Ghilotti, an analyst at Equita wrote in a note.

Meanwhile, London's FTSE 100 (FTSE) rose 0.6% as investors focused on signs of a recovery in economic output in June, shrugging off a record 20.4% plunge in the second quarter, the largest contraction reported by any major economy.

June output grew by 8.7% from May, just above economists' average expectation in a Reuters poll for an 8% rise.

"It's been widely expected that UK will be in a recession. But the fact that May number was upgraded and the June number was better than expectations, is offering a little bit of encouragement," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

"Markets are more interested in debating the pace of the recovery."

Markets globally have rallied this week on the back of improving data from China and Europe, signs of progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine and a fresh U.S. stimulus.

However, Wall Street indexes fell overnight on growing uncertainty about a stalemate in Washington over the stimulus deal. (N)

Among other individual movers, Danish enzyme maker Novozymes (CO:NZYMb) fell 5.8% after it issued a weaker profit outlook than previously forecast.

European food-ordering firm Just Eat NV (L:JETJ) rose 3.9% after reporting higher revenue and underlying profit for the first half of 2020.

British online fashion retailer ASOS (L:ASOS) jumped 7.2% as it forecast full-year sales and profit significantly ahead of market expectations.