London: European shares rebounded on Friday from the previous session’s sharp falls and snapped a three-day losing run, lifted by banks and oil producers but Fiat fell on a UBS downgrade.
By 2:31pm, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.4% at 1,014.88 points after losing 1.6% on Thursday to hit a one-week closing low.
“We’re still stuck in a tight range, and this could last until December,” said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading at Global Equities in Paris.
“Recent US housing data and default rates are grim and that could seriously revive fears over banks’ balance sheets and dampen hopes of an end-of-year rally.”
Banks were in demand, rebounding from Thursday’s weakness. HSBC, BNP Paribas, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale and UBS were up 0.2-1.2%.
However Credit Suisse said in a note that it had a “small underweight” of continental European banks, citing their sensitivity to falls in credit spreads, though leeway for further spread declines is limited.
Sweden’s SEB lost 1.4% after Morgan Stanley cut its rating to “underweight” from “overweight”.
Oil producers advanced, with crude prices ticking higher. BP , Total and Royal Dutch Shell put on 0.5-0.6%.
The pan-European benchmark has lost 0.4% so far this week. The index has rallied 57% since hitting a trough in early March and is up 22% for the year.
Across Europe on Friday, Britain’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were all up 0.6%.
The VDAX-NEW volatility index eased 3.8%. The lower the index, the higher the market’s appetite for risky assets like equities.
Fiat topped the fallers in the pan-European index, down 2.6% after UBS downgraded the carmaker to “neutral” from “buy”.
Also in the auto sector, Volkswagen put on 1.2% and Porsche added 0.2% after Volkswagen and its supervisory board approved final details of a 49.9% stake in the sports car maker and an eventual tie-up with Porsche’s parent company.
Capgemini added 1% after its chief executive Paul Hermelin said late on Thursday that the IT services company could use its strong cash position to make acquisitions or pay an extra dividend.
Also on the upside, Cable & Wireless climbed 2% after JPMorgan upgraded the telecoms operator to “overweight” from “neutral”.
UBS cut its rating on Enel to “neutral” from “buy”. Enel shares were down 1.5%.