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LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - A recovery among cyclical sectors and a raft of M&A news helped boost European shares further on Thursday, shaking off a tech-led sell-off which had spread across global markets earlier in the week.
Autos stocks led gains as Renault shares jumped 6.4 percent to the top of the STOXX after Bloomberg reported Nissan and Renault are in talks to merge.
Hopes of dealmaking spread to other autos stocks, driving them up too. Peugeot rose 2.7 percent, Porsche gained 2.6 percent and Volkswagen was up 2.4 percent.
Cyclical basic resources, autos, and banking stocks drove the pan-European STOXX 600 up 0.1 percent. The index was still set for its worst quarter in two years, however, suffering a 5 percent decline.
Starting with a stellar rally in global equities in January, this quarter developed into a challenging one for stock markets with investors navigating a sharp spike in volatility, rumbling trade tensions and anxiety over the tech sector.
M&A news was the main driver on Thursday.
Besides Renault, Swiss Re was also a top gainer, up 2.3 percent after a report that Japan's SoftBank Group , which has been in deal talks with the reinsurance firm, is looking to buy a 25 percent stake.
NEX Group shares rose 0.8 percent after U.S. exchange operator CME Group said it had agreed to take over the UK financial technology firm for $5.5 billion.
Meanwhile services group Sodexo sank 15 percent after cutting its full-year sales and profit margin outlook, reporting a weaker than expected second quarter.
Peers Elior and Compass Group also declined 2.2 to 2.4 percent, making the travel and leisure sector the worst-performing. (Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Kit Rees)