UPDATE 2-Buoyant media sector boosts European shares


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    * STOXX 600 up 0.8 percent
    * Sky rallies as takeover war escalates
    * ITV down after England's World Cup defeat, TF1 gains
    * Earnings updates in focus

 (Adds closing prices)
    By Danilo Masoni
    MILAN, July 12 (Reuters) - A buoyant media sector drove
European stocks higher on Thursday following a new bid for
British pay-TV firm Sky  SKYB.L , helping shares stabilise after
heavy losses in the previous session, when fears of an
escalating trade war hit markets.
    The pan-European STOXX 600  .STOXX  index closed 0.8 percent
higher with gains in the healthcare and consumer sectors, which
have recently been favoured for their defensive qualities in the
face of worries that a trade war could hurt global growth.
    The region's media index  .SXMP  rose 2.4 percent, with Sky
up 3.4 percent after U.S.-based Comcast  CMCSA.O  submitted a
$34 billion bid for the group a few hours after Rupert Murdoch's
21st Century Fox raised its offer.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1U819Y
    Sky traded above Comcast's recommended offer price of 14.75
pounds as investors bet Fox would make another higher bid.
    "Fox has spent 18 months going through the UK regulatory
process to acquire Sky and we don't believe 1400p is likely to
be its final offer," Credit Suisse analysts led by Matthew
Walker said in a note.
    They lifted their price target on the stock to 16 pounds.
    Europe's media index has outperformed the market this month,
underpinned by the bidding war for Sky but also helped by
expectations of a lift to advertising sales from the World Cup
soccer matches for broadcasters such as France's TF1 and
Britain's ITV.
    ITV  ITV.L  however fell 1 percent on Thursday after England
lost its semi-final with Croatia, who will now face France in
Sunday's final.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1U74T2 
    Goldman Sachs said the World Cup boost for ITV was already
priced in and it downgraded the stock to neutral, while lifting
its rating on TF1  TFFP.PA  to buy, which helped send the stock
up 3.7 percent.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N1U836K
    Satellite operators had a strong session with France's
Eutelsat  ETL.PA  announcing it was joining rivals Intelsat
 I.N  and SES  SESFg.LU  in a proposal to free up spectrum for
the rollout of 5G mobile networks in the United States. 
    Eutelsat rose 3.4 percent and SES  SESFg.LU , which
benefited from an upgrade from Exane BNP Paribas, rose 1
    Elsewhere earnings updates drove share price moves. 
    Gerresheimer  GXIG.DE  rallied 7.6 percent after the German
drugs packaging maker raised the lower end of its revenue growth
guidance and unveiled a 350 million euro acquisition to expand
in the field of digital drug delivery devices.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1U71J4
    Norwegian bank DNB  DNB.OL  dropped 4 percent after its
second quarter earnings fell short of expectations.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1U73B9
    Overall investors are expecting a solid earnings season in
Europe. According to the Thomson Reuters IBES data,
second-quarter earnings for the companies on the euro zone's
MSCI EMU index  .dMIEM00000PUS  are expected to grow 8.1

 (Reporting by Danilo Masoni and Julien Ponthus; editing by
David Stamp and Jon Boyle)
 ((Danilo.Masoni@TR.com; +39-02-66129734; Reuters Messaging:
danilo.masoni.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; On Twitter https://twitter.com/damasoni))

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