LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - European stocks edged higher at the open on Thursday, boosted by expectations the Federal Reserve would continue to support the U.S. economy and by data showing a pick-up in Chinese factory activity.
Mergers and acquisitions activity once again coloured European trading, with British American Tobacco among biggest contributors to pan-European indexes on news it could back a potential merger between Reynolds American and orillard.
At 0711 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.2 percent to 1,367.55 points.
Minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last meeting reassured investors that policy makers would stick to their easy monetary policy stance.
Sentiment on risk assets was further boosted by a private survey showing China’s factory sector turned in its best performance in five months in May, confounding some of the more bearish on the world’s second-biggest economy and top consumer of metals.
France’s CAC-40 was a slight underperformer, trading flat after surveys showed French business activity unexpectedly shrank in May. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Lionel Laurent)