* STOXX 600 up 0.1 pct
* Best month since 2016 for European stocks
* Sainsbury's up 15 pct after merger with Asda announced
* Deutsche Telekom rises on T-Mobile US - Sprint merger
* AccorHotels boosted by Movenpick acquisition (Updates prices, adds details)
By Helen Reid
LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) - A multi-billion pound merger between British supermarket Sainsbury's and Asda shook up retail stocks on Monday while European benchmarks ended April with their strongest monthly gains since 2016.
The pan-European STOXX .STOXX index rose 0.1 percent while Germany's DAX .GDAXI gained 0.3 percent, buoyed by investors' improved risk appetite as inter-Korea tensions eased and companies delivered strong earnings
The regional benchmark delivered a 3.8 percent gain in April, its strongest month since December 2016, after suffering losses in February and March - testament to renewed investor optimism after a volatility shock in February rattled markets.
On the day, all eyes were on Sainsbury's SBRY.L , whose shares closed up 14.5 percent after it agreed to merge with Walmart's WMT.N Asda to create Britain's biggest supermarket group by market share. stock was on track for its best one-day gain ever.
"The merger, if successful, creates a retail giant in the UK with enough procurement and distribution scale to dominate food retail and challenge Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN ) in non-food," said Berenberg analysts.
The said that Walmart's scale, the e-commerce capabilities of Sainsbury's Argos chain, and the potential synergies between food and non-food retail might be able to challenge Amazon's e-commerce dominance in the UK.
In other deal news, Deutsche Telekom DTEGn.DE shares ended the day down 0.7 percent, having earlier risen to the top of the DAX after the German firm clinched a $26 billion deal to merge T-Mobile US and Sprint. ACCP.PA rose 1.9 percent after the French hotel chain agreed to buy rival Movenpick Hotels & Resorts for $567 million. results-driven moves, the world's biggest advertising group, WPP WPP.L , surged 8.6 percent after reporting forecast-beating sales in its first results without founder Martin Sorrell. agency's gains boosted the pan-European media sector .SXMP by 1.4 percent to a three-month high.
A drag on the banking sector was Sweden's SEB SEBa.ST , which tumbled 4.5 percent after reporting first-quarter profit below market expectations as cautious corporate customers and a seasonal slowdown hampered earnings. construction materials firm Imerys IMTP.PA also fell 5.2 percent after reporting results. GLEN.L dropped 5 percent after mining subsidiaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo were served freezing orders for alleged unpaid royalties of nearly $3 billion. Europe's first-quarter results season has kicked off relatively weakly, particularly compared to the first quarter of 2017.
Earnings have surprised negatively, on average, in the banking sector, while commodity-related sectors have reported surprisingly strong results thanks to higher materials prices, according to Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ).
Societe Generale (PA: SOGN ) analysts struck a note of caution about investors' high expectations of earnings. "Optimistic consensus earnings growth for the next three years could be a source of disappointment," they wrote in a note entitled "Reality check".
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.