European shares edge up as oil rallies, utilities bounce

  • Reuters
  • Commodities News
European shares edge up as oil rallies, utilities bounce
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(Live coverage of European markets now available on cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets) Adds closing prices)

* STOXX up 0.3 percent, index down about 7 percent this year

* Pause in bond sell-off helps utilities, real estate stocks

* Crude rally on OPEC output cut hopes, lifts oil stocks

* But fall in miners, weak banks weigh on index

* Nokia under pressure after unambitious guidance

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, Nov 15 (Reuters) - European shares edged up on Tuesday helped by a surge in crude oil prices and a rebound in utilities, while telecoms equipment maker Nokia slumped on a disappointing earnings outlook update.

The STOXX 600 .STOXX rose 0.3 percent at the end of a choppy session. The pan-European index remains down 7 percent so far in 2016.

Hopes of huge fiscal stimulus in the United States under Donald Trump's administration have fueled a rally in bond yields and rate hike expectations, prompting investors to favour financials over dividend-paying sectors such as utilities or real estate.

But the bond sell-off abated, taking some pressure off the utilities .SX6P and real estate .SX86P sectors, which were among the best performers in Europe with gains of 0.7 and 1.5 percent respectively.

German utility RWE RWEG.DE rose 2.6 percent, supported by an upgrade to hold at Kepler, while German property firm Deutsche Wohnen DWNG.DE also surged, by 5.3 percent, after lifting its guidance. Italian gas grid operator Snam SRG.MI was up 1.9 percent after broadly in-line results.

Rising yields have made dividend paying sectors relatively less attractive, but financial companies have benefited because that eases pressure on their margins. The pause in the bond sell-off prompted profit taking among financial stocks, with the bank sector index .SX7P down 0.1 percent.

Monte dei Paschi BMPS.MI fell 10 percent after the ailing Italian lender announced the terms of a debt-to-equity swap, a key plank of a plan to avoid the bank being wound down.

But shares in British asset manager Intermediate Capital Group ICP.L rose 6.3 percent, the top STOXX 600 gainer, after saying that its first half assets rose 2 percent. NOKIA.HE fell 3.8 percent. The company expects its sales to fall around 2 percent next year, in line with the broader telecoms network businesses in which it operates, but forecasts the market and its own business will return to modest growth in 2018. Gorschelnik, head of research at Finnish asset manager FIM, said the stock reacted negatively because margin guidance and dividend were a little below expectations, but JP Morgan noted how Nokia traditionally issues unambitious guidance.

British American Tobacco BATS.L was up 0.4 percent after sources said U.S. rival Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI ) RAI.N is seeking a higher price from the British cigarette maker after rejecting its $47 billion takeover offer. .SXDP shares, among the best performers this year, fell for a second session as traders took profits after a week-long rally in metal prices fuelled by Trump's U.S. election victory.

The oil and gas index .SXEP rose 2.9 percent, leading sectoral fallers, as oil prices jumped 4 percent, bouncing back from multi-month lows on expectations that OPEC will agree later this month to cut production to reduce a supply glut.

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