European shares rise, Danone jumps after CEO ouster

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March 15 (Reuters) - European stocks rose on Monday on gains in French food company Danone and Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding, with optimism about a strong economic rebound calming concerns about quickening inflation.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7% in early trading, inching closer a record peak set last year, with travel and leisure, automakers and food & beverage sectors among the top gainers.

Danone jumped 4.9% after the company’s board ousted Emmanuel Faber as its chairman and chief executive due to growing pressure from shareholders.

Roche rose 1% after it said it would buy GenMark Diagnostics, a U.S.-based maker of molecular diagnostic tests, in a $1.8 billion deal.

Sentiment was also boosted by a surge in China’s factory and retail sector activity in the first two months of the year, beating expectations, as the economy consolidated its brisk recovery from the coronavirus paralysis of early 2020.

Milan-listed shares of carmaker Stellantis gained 3.9% after Deutsche Bank started coverage with “buy” rating. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)