European shares rose at the open on Thursday, buoyed by a rally in banks and a recovery by commodity stocks after recent falls.
Banks gained 1.6 percent, the top sectoral risers, with talk over M&A in the sector combining with hopes of improved growth.
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank both rose 3 percent, the top gainers on the German DAX, after reports the banks had held talks about a tie-up. Deutsche Bank’s CEO on Wednesday called for more consolidation in the sector, although he said his bank would not do any big deal-making any time soon.
“Comments from DB on more mergers in the sector has helped expectations that we may see the potential for more cross-border M&A. That coupled with confirmation they had talks with Commerzbank is helping,” said Atif Latif, director at Guardian Stockbrokers said.
The STOXX Europe 600 kicked off September with a rise of 0.6 percent, after finishing August with a 0.4 percent fall on Wednesday as commodity prices slumped.
Oil prices stabilised and metal prices recovered, leaving the energy and mining sectors up 0.5 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.
Miners benefited after activity in China’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly expanded at its fastest pace in nearly two years in August as construction boomed, suggesting the economy may be steadying in response to stronger government spending.
Euro zone PMI surveys were also in focus. The figures showed manufacturing growth in the bloc slowed during August and much of the expansion remained focused in the north.
Italian and French blue chip stocks were off highs after national figures showed that manufacturing slowed in both countries.
Germany’s DAX ticked up as growth there remained solid.
Elekta rose around 5 percent, a top gainer in early deals, after the maker of radiation therapy equipment posted profits above forecast and said demand had been good in emerging markets, with China particularly strong.
Ackermans & Van Haaren rose 5.5 percent to the top of the STOXX 600 leaderboard after an upgrade to “buy” from “hold” by KBC.
Recruiting firm Hays dropped 4.5 percent, the top faller, after it said hiring in Britain weakened significantly shortly after the June 23 vote to leave the European Union. (editing by John Stonestreet)