By Julien Ponthus
LONDON (Reuters) - British shares rose on Monday as a flurry of deals lifted investors' mood and helped brush aside fears about a possible full-blown trade war between the U.S. and some of its closest partners.
At 0826 GMT, the blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.7 percent amid optimism across trading centres in Europe about the political situation in Italy and Spain.
"Carrying over last Friday's robust relief rally, investors continued to ignore the trade tensions sprouting out of the US in favour of celebrating the improved political situation in the Eurozone", said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at Spreadex.
Contributing to confidence, a survey showed on Sunday that British companies were growing more quickly after a weak start to the year adding to signs that the economy is recovering from the impact of an unusually cold winter.
Adding to other signs that Britain's overall economy was picking up after a January-March slump, the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) held at 52.5, unchanged from April's modest growth rate after a sharp contraction in March.
UK-based packaging group DS Smith led the FTSE higher, up 3.3 percent after it offered to buy Spanish rival Europac for an enterprise value of 1.9 billion euros ($2.2 billion) to strengthen its business in western Europe and its supply chain.
Financial shares added the most points to the FTSE as news that Italy's biggest bank, UniCredit was exploring a merger with France's Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) boosted the sector.
In the UK, lender CYBG rose 1.9 percent after it raised its offer for challenger bank Virgin Money (LON:VM) by 7 percent.
Rolls-Royce (LON:RR) rose 0.4 percent after completing the sale of Germany-based diesel parts maker L'Orange to U.S.-based engineering company Woodward Inc with net proceeds totalling 673 million euros.
EasyJet gained 2.5 percent after Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) lifted its target price for the stock and the sector benefited from the fact that AccorHotels said it was looking at buying a stake in Air France KLM.