Europe close: Technology and M&A power gains in shares
Stocks on the Continent gained ground on Tuesday paced by Technology issues, even as traders waited on the US central bank's policy announcement the next day.
Against that backdrop, by the closing bell the benchmark Stoxx 600 was higher by 0.66% or 2.58 points to 391.63, alongside a gain of 0.46% or 59.88 points to 13,183.53 on the German Dax and an advance of 0.75% or 40.36 points to 5,427.19 for the Cac-40.
Technology was the strongest segment of the market, with the Stoxx 600 Technology gauge up by 1.61% to 444.97, bolstered by shares of Dutch cyber-security specialist Gemalto after France's Atos tabled an all-cash €4.3bn (£3.84bn) takeover offer, sending the stock's price up by over a third.
Tellingly, Atos shares also ended the day sharply higher.
Despite Tuesday's gains, the pan-European tech gauge was still trading roughly 5% below the roughly 17-year high it hit in early November.
Oil&Gas also performed well, as traders waited on an update on how long the North Sea Forties pipeline would be closed following the discovery of a crack the day before.
News regarding the Forties pipeline - which transports roughly 40% of the UK North Sea's oil and gas - sent front month Brent crude oil futures sharply higher, lifting the Stoxx 600 Oil&Gas sector gauge by 1.56% to 317.19.
However, a statement late in the session from the International Energy Agency saying it was monitoring the situation sent crude prices lower.
Also in the corporate headlines was France's Unibail-Rodamco after announcing it had decided to go Down Under in search of market opportunities, launching a $16bn (£11.94bn) bid for shopping mall owner Westfield.
The bid price, which was accepted by the Aussie outfit, equated to a 18% premium.
On the economic front, the main data release was the ZEW Institute's economic sentiment index for December, which slipped by 1.3 points to 17.4 points (consensus: 17.8).
According to ZEW president Achim Wambach, uncertainty around the creation of a coalition government had had no "significant" impact on financial experts' assessment of the outlook.
Nonetheless, according to Wambach, "Financial market experts, however, expect to see negative effects resulting from this with regard to the Brexit negotiations as well as EU reforms."
Yet his remarks were directly at odds with the opinion voiced by Derek Halpenny, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi's head of global markets research, who told Bloomberg TV that markets were not pricing in the full positive implications of the prior week's Brexit 'breakthrough'.