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

Reuters

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 (For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikon
news window)
    * UBI Banca jumps on upbeat earnings outlook
    * German stocks hit new record, supported by Chinese
stimulus
    * 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.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2AG0US
    "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.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2AG0JW

 (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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