UPDATE 2-China measures, Italian banks lift European shares to record close


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    * UBI Banca jumps on upbeat earnings outlook
    * German stocks hit new record, supported by Chinese
    * Faurecia posts rise in annual profit, boosts automakers 

 (Updates with closing price)
    By Ambar Warrick and Sruthi Shankar
    Feb 17 (Reuters) - European shares hit a record high close
on Monday as a rally in Italian banks and fresh attempts by
China to limit the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak
lifted investor spirits.
    Despite a U.S. holiday dulling market activity, the
pan-European STOXX 600 index  .STOXX  rose 0.3%, with
trade-sensitive German stocks  .GDAXI  hitting all-time highs as
Beijing stepped up stimulus measures.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2AH0NR
    Adding to the upbeat mood, Italy's fifth-biggest bank UBI
Banca  UBI.MI  jumped 5.5% after saying it aimed to nearly
double net profit in the next three years, sending a broader
index of Italian banks  .FTIT8300  up 1.8%.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2AH2AP
    Even as China reported more coronavirus cases over the
weekend, prompting economists to cut growth forecasts, investors
took heart from the central bank's move to cut interest rates.
    "The fact that China keeps signalling that they're ready to
somewhat bubblewrap the economy by pumping in stimulus - that's
what's keeping markets in the green today," said Connor
Campbell, analyst at financial spread better Spreadex.
    "This week is interesting because we've got manufacturing
PMIs (on Friday), I think it will give an idea of some impact on
supply chains from the coronavirus."
    Meanwhile, euro zone finance ministers will also discuss a
document that calls for a more growth-friendly fiscal policy as 
recession fears grip Germany and the coronavirus outbreak 
threatens global growth.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2AH3BD
    Automobile stocks  .SXAP , were the best performing European
sector, led by French car parts group Faurecia  EPED.PA  after
reporting a rise in annual profits and sales.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2AH0G5
    In merger news, France's Alstom  ALSO.PA  rose 3.5% after
the maker of TGV bullet trains said it was in talks to buy the
train business of Canada's Bombardier  BBDb.TO  in a potential
$7 billion deal.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2AH14A
    Meanwhile, Finland's Kone  KNEBV.HE  slid 4.6% as it dropped
out of the auction for the 16-billion-euro elevator unit of
Thyssenkrupp  TKAG.DE  after the German conglomerate shortlisted
two private equity consortia for the sale.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2AH3D7
    German herbicide providers Bayer AG  BAYGn.DE  and BASF SE
 BASFn.DE  fell 1.9% and 1%, respectively, after a U.S. peach
grower was awarded $265 million in a lawsuit against the two.

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru;
Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Mark Potter)
 ((Ambar.Warrick@thomsonreuters.com; +91-80-6182-2837; Reuters
Messaging: ambar.warrick.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net;
Twitter: @AmbarWarrick))

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