European shares started the final session of the week higher, boosted by more upbeat corporate news and the European Central Bank promise to continue stimulus.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.55% in early trade with all major regional bourses in the green.
Investors were digesting official UK data that showed a rise in retail sales rose between May and June, helped along by the European football tournament. Sales were up 0.5%, coming in a touch above consensus expectations for 0.4% growth. Compared with their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels, sales were 9.5% higher.
In equity markets, Ultra Electronics surged 33% after the defence company said it was minded to recommend a £2.58bn takeover bid from Cobham to shareholders. Cobham, owned by US private-equity firm Advent International, has offered £35 a share, a 42% premium to Ultra’s share price of £24.70 on Thursday.
Telecoms operator Vodafone rallied after it reported a rise in first-quarter revenue as European and African services returned to growth.
Shares in French car parts maker Valeo jumped 7.5% after it posted higher first-half sales and profit, and said it expected the shortage of key technology chips to ease. Peers Faurecia and Continental rose 5.6% and 3% respectively.
Rafale jets maker Dassault Aviation climbed 7.1% on reporting higher sales and profits in the first half of the year.
Norwegian energy firm Scatec fell 13% despite a rise in second quarter earnings.