European shares opened higher on Friday, surfing on a global recovery rally which has lifted stocks from the lows hit just after Christmas thanks to optimism on Sino-U.S. trade talks and a more dovish tone from the Federal Reserve. The pan-European STOXX 600 (STOXX) rose 0.1 % at the open to reach a one-month high, with most regional bourses and industrial sectors in positive territory.
Pharmaceutical group Orion fell 6.5 % after its rating was cut to “underperform” by Jefferies which argued the current dividend yield was not enough to support the share price. In the telecoms sector, talk of possible consolidations in France lifted shares in Altice Europe about 5 %, and Iliad 1.2 %.
France‘s incumbent operator Orange, which would benefit from less competition on its home turf, led the European telecom index (SXKP) with a 1.2 % rise. French utilities took a hit after Societe Generale downgraded ratings on and Veolia Environment citing doubts about the global growth outlook. The stocks were down 2.7 % and 1.7 % respectively.