4:00 PM Frankfurt, Germany - European stocks moved higher Monday, but gains were limited by losses in French telecoms after the merger talks between Orange and Bouygues came to a halt. Unemployment in the euro zone fell to the lowest level in five years in February.
European stocks moved higher Monday, but gains were limited by losses in French telecoms after the merger talks between Orange and Bouygues came to a halt.
Orange lost 6.5% and Bouygues plummeted 13.9% after the negotiations for the takeover of Bouygues telecom unit by Orange fell apart late on Friday.
The proposed takeover was valued at about Ä10 billion and would have provided cost savings and decreased the competition in a sector thatís depressed by pricing pressure.
Investors viewed the merger as a chance to reduce the number of telecoms groups to three from four in France which is expected to increase profitability of remaining players.
The news brought down the entire telecom sector. Numericable-SFR dropped 16.8% and Iliad declined 15.3% in Paris, while Altice erased 12.1% in Amsterdam.
Reversing the trend from last week, the euro eased down 0.09% against the dollar to $1.1383.
February unemployment in the euro zone fell the lowest level in five years to 10.3%, down from 10.4% in January, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Germany and the Czech Republic recorded the lowest February unemployment at 4.3% and 4.5%, respectively. Greece and Spain maintained the highest unemployment rates at more than 20%.
Investors expect minutes from the European Central Bankís March meeting on Tuesday for guidance on the policy of stimulating the economy.
Volatile oil prices recovered from earlier losses and were little changed on Monday afternoon. Brent crude oil futures inched down 0.23% to $38.58 per barrel and WTI crude oil futures added 0.08% to $36.82 per barrel.
In London, the FTSE 100 rose 22.52, or 0.37%, to 6,168.57, while in Frankfurt, the DAX index gained 20.02, or 0.20%, to 9,814.66.
In Paris, the CAC 40 index advanced 22.49, or 0.52%, 4,344.73.
Everyman Media Group Plc
climbed 1.7% to 88 pence despite reporting a loss for 2015 due to higher costs related to the opening of new cinemas.
The British cinema operator reported a pre-tax loss in 2015 of £734,000, compared to a pre-tax profit of £266,000 in 2014.
Revenue, however, increased to £20.3 million from £14.1 million a year earlier, boosted by an increase in admissions after the opening of six new cinemas to a total of 16.
The company plans to open six more sites over the next two years, supported by a new £8 million three-year revolving loan facility with Barclays.