Europe open: Corporate news, ECB pledge help maintain share rally

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.

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