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European stocks make early gains as banks bounce

European stocks make early gains as banks bounce
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First Published: Wed, Feb 18 2009. 02 56 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Feb 18 2009. 02 56 PM IST
London: European shares ticked up early on Wednesday, breaking a two-day losing run as banks rebounded from falls in the previous session and investors cheered updates from Societe Generale and Commerzbank.
At 08:49 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.1% at 766.33 points, having fallen 2.5% on Tuesday. The index is down 8% so far this year, pulled lower by bank stocks.
Financials came back strongly in morning trade, led by SocGen, which jumped 3% after it posted a fourth-quarter net profit, raised its dividend and said it key tier-1 ratio was 8.8%.
HSBC, Santander and BNP Paribas rose 2.3-2.8%, ranking among the top-weighted gainers on the European benchmark after the sector fell sharply on Tuesday on fears of losses in emerging Europe.
Commerzbank jumped 6% after posting a smaller-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter. But heavyweight energy stock BP fell 1.7% and miner Rio Tinto lost 1.9% to weigh on the index as they traded ex-dividend.
Analysts remained wary about any equities recovery.
Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC were up 0.3-0.5%.
Brewers Heineken and Carlsberg rose 4.6% and 7% respectively after Heineken reported earnings slightly below forecasts and Carlsberg came in slightly above expectations.
The euro rose against the dollar on a technical rebound after hitting a 2-1/2 month low but the upside was limited due to ongoing concerns about the banking system and the economy.
Oil traded down 0.1% at below $35 a barrel as demand concerns continued to weigh, though Total and Royal Dutch Shell ticked higher, underlining the imperfect correlation with the oil price.
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First Published: Wed, Feb 18 2009. 02 56 PM IST
More Topics: Markets | Europe | Stocks | London | Societe Generale |