European shares ended a choppy session in positive territory on Thursday as a recovery in commodity prices helped energy and mining shares and fears over price pressures were partially quelled by U.S. inflation data.
European shares dropped on Wednesday as fresh concern about the impact of the credit crunch on the banking sector hit financial shares, while a late spike in the oil price rekindled worries about inflation.
Commodities and inflation remain the main story, and while stocks are well off their July lows, the advance remains tentative due to concerns about a slower global economy.
Acquisitive miner Xstrata unveiled a $10 billion takeover bid for the world's third-biggest platinum producer Lonmin, aiming to diversify its business from industrial metals such as copper.
BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, reported strong quarterly production gains on Wednesday led by copper and iron ore, but warned of a looming decline from the world's biggest copper mine.
Australia, the world's biggest per head polluter, unveiled plans on Wednesday to rein-in greenhouse gas emissions, but said it would shield some companies and motorists from a carbon emissions trading scheme expected to drive up inflation.
The European Commission opened an in-depth investigation on Friday into BHP Billiton's $170 billion unsolicited bid for rival miner Rio Tinto, with prices of iron ore already soaring.
Australia will increase its scrutiny of foreign investments in Australian mining companies, Treasurer Wayne Swan said on Friday, particularly when the investor is also a major customer seeking a majority stake.
Australia's trade deficit came in much as expected in May, but April's shortfall was revised to show the first surplus since 2002 thanks to huge price increases for the country's iron ore exports.
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Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal considered buying a stake in bid target Rio Tinto to expand his interests in iron ore but has decided against it for now, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.
Australia wants to tighten foreign-investment rules to curb Chinese takeovers of local miners, a national daily said on Thursday, as it emerged that China's Sinosteel was circling two Australian iron ore firms.
The resource sector is still the smart investment now, while those attracted to beaten-down financial stocks should proceed with care, analysts told CNBC Europe.
Miner BHP Billiton may be forced to scrap its plan to rewrite the way billions of dollars of iron ore are sold every year after rival Rio Tinto struck a benchmark deal with China, analysts said on Tuesday.
China's state-owned aluminum giant Chinalco is keen to buy a range of global resource assets, and may consider raising its stake in global miner Rio Tinto, the Australian newspaper said on Tuesday.
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Production at global miner Rio Tinto will increase as global demand for commodities continues to soar, while prices are likely to continue rising, the company's CFO Guy Elliott told "Squawk Box Europe" on Thursday.
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European stocks fell 1.7 percent on Friday, losing ground for the third time in four sessions as a dip in metal prices prompted investors to book recent lofty gains on mining shares.