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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

European Shares Rise to Year Highs

LONDON -- European shares rose to new highs for the year in opening trade Wednesday as Nokia led gains in the technology sector and cosmetics giant L'Oreal added gloss to the advance.

Technology was buoyed by broker upgrades to some of its constituents, such as German software firm SAP, and the U.S. Nasdaq market hit a 17-month peak Tuesday amid further evidence that the world's biggest economy is recovering, though without creating new jobs.

Sector leader Nokia, the Finnish handset maker, rose 2.8 percent to 15.24 euros.

French cosmetics group L'Oreal posted a slight rise in first-half operating profit after the close Tuesday but reiterated its steady outlook. The stock gained 2 percent to 66.05 euros.

French utility Suez rose 1.6 percent to 15.15 euros after newspaper reports the group is due to announce the sale of its U.S. sewerage subsidiary Ondeo-Nalco on Thursday for at least $4 billion.

In the media sector, U.S. television network NBC won Vivendi Universal's show-business auction with a proposed merger to create a new entertainment industry giant worth more than $40 billion.

NBC is a unit of General Electric. If the deal is passed, GE would take 80 percent of the merged company to Vivendi's 20 percent.

Vivendi shares, which rallied ahead of the anticipated announcement that came after the Paris close, were up 3.3 percent at 17.13 euros.

Japanese stocks rose for a fourth straight session Wednesday to close at a 14-month high, led by Mizuho Financial Group, other banks and insurers due to growing profits on their shareholdings as share prices rise.

In New York on Tuesday, shares scaled 14-month highs after more evidence of U.S. economic recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 1.14 percent at 9,523.27 points, and the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite ended 1.7 percent ahead at 1,841.48 points.