Telcos, banks lift European shares, dollar dips
By Nigel Stephenson
LONDON (Reuters) - European stocks rose on Monday, with gains in telecoms and banks offsetting a big fall in Unilever, while uncertainty over political developments and the timing of a U.S. interest rate hike kept the dollar in check.
U.S. markets were closed for the Presidents Day holiday, and this restricted activity in Europe and Asia.
Unilever (ULVR.L: Quote) shares fell nearly 9 percent at one point after U.S. food company Kraft Heinz Co (KHC.O: Quote) withdrew on Sunday a proposal for a merger with its larger rival in the face of stiff resistance.
The Anglo-Dutch group's shares were last down 7.4 percent and were the day's biggest fallers.
Despite that slide, the pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX edged up 0.1 percent to just below a 14-month high touched last week.
A 3 percent gain in Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE: Quote) helped push the index higher after a Reuters report that Japan's SoftBank (9984.T: Quote) is prepared to give up control of Sprint (S.N: Quote) to Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile US (TMUS.O: Quote) to clinch a merger of the two U.S. wireless carriers.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote) was the day's biggest gainer as shareholders welcomed a plan to scrap the proposed sale of its Williams & Glyn unit.
Earlier, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS edged up 0.2 percent and back toward a 19-month peak reached last week. Continued...