LONDON, March 29 European shares edged higher on
Wednesday as Britain was set to formally trigger divorce
proceedings with the European Union it joined in 1973.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was 0.2 percent
higher by 0820 GMT, with modest gains driven by broker upgrades
Markets were muted as investors awaited details on the two
parties' negotiating positions ahead of long and complex talks.
Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.4 percent, outperforming
the broader European market, as a weaker pound contributed to
gains for its largely foreign-earning stocks.
The more domestically-exposed British mid caps fell
Basic resource stocks were among top sectoral
gainers, up 0.6 percent as the price of copper rose, with autos
also rising 1.1 percent.
3I Group was the top European gainer, up 3.2 percent
after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the private equity
group to 'overweight' from 'equal-weight'.
Norsk Hydro was up 2.7 percent after ratings agency
Moody's upgraded its baseline credit assessment of the aluminium
producer to Baa2 from Baa3.
Engie rose 2.6 percent, top of France's CAC 40
, after JP Morgan upgraded its view on the gas and
electricity supplier to overweight from neutral.
German internet services company Scout24 was the
worst-performing European stock after posting results, set for
its worst day in 3 1/2 months, after its results
Swedish bank SEB was down 5.1 percent after going
(Reporting by Helen Reid, editing by Kit Rees)