London: European shares edged higher on Monday, though gains were capped as Spanish banks fell on the CajaSur bailout and investors remained concerned the euro zone crisis could hurt global growth.
The index got support from the mining sector, which was given a boost by stronger copper prices on hopes China would not act further to cool its economy and slow demand for metals.
By 0915 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.4% at 973.76 points having been up as high as 980.37 earlier.
The index has lost 12.6% since fears over the euro zone’s sovereign debt problems and new fiscal austerity measures escalated in mid-April.
Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA reversed earlier session gains to cap gains in the banking sector and fell 1.1% and 2.1% respectively.
The Bank of Spain said on Saturday it had taken over the running of savings bank CajaSur after the failure of its planned merger with another of the country’s small lenders.
The STOXX Europe 600 Banking index is down 17.4% since fears escalated mid-April.
Mining stocks were in demand. Eurasian Natural Resources and Rio Tinto rose 0.4 and 1.7% respectively.
“The market as a whole seems to be saying we know that there are a number of Spanish regional banks which could be bailed out and are shrugging it aside. ... There are bargain hunters coming in for resource stocks,” Wood-Smith said.
Meanwhile Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero said on Sunday Spain will not bow to union pressure and revise a €15 billion ($18.8 billion) austerity plan.
Across Europe, the FTSE 100 index was up 0.1%, Germany’s DAX fell 0.4% and France’s CAC 40 was up 0.6%.
Markets in Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Denmark and Norway were closed on Monday for public holidays.