Banks lift Europe shares to 4-week high; AXA up

* FTSEurofirst 300 index up 1 pct, up for 4th day in a row

* VDAX-NEW volatility index hits 1-month low

* Strong euro zone industrial output data boosts sentiment

* AXA rises on UK sale talks with Resolution

* For up-to-the minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Harpreet Bhal

LONDON, June 14 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares touched a
four-week high on Monday as strong euro zone industrial output
rekindled optimism over the region’s economic outlook, while AXA
(AXAF.PA: ) rose on talks of a UK asset sale to Resolution
(RSL.L: ).
By 1038 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: )
index of top shares was 1 percent higher at 1,018.48 points, up
for the fourth consecutive session.

The index is still down 7.5 percent since mid-April, when
fears that Greece’s debt crisis could spread to other euro zone
countries and undermine global economic recovery intensified.

“Shares got a little bit cheap (following recent falls) and
it was all a bit oversold,” said David Buik, senior partner at
BGC partners.

“Second quarter earnings will be somewhat better than people
expect and there may be just a little bit of mileage left in the
current rally.”

Banks were among the biggest gainers, rebounding from falls
in recent weeks on easing worries over the euro zone debt
crisis.

Barclays (BARC.L: ), HSBC (HSBA.L: ), Societe Generale
(SOGN.PA: ), BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: ) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: )
rose 0.9 to 2.6 percent.

The VDAX-NEW volatility index (.V1XI: ), Europe’s main
barometer of investor anxiety, fell 4.1 percent to its lowest
level in one month, highlighting investors’ appetite for risk.

Comments from Greece’s prime minister late on Friday also
helped soothe worries over Europe’s debt crisis.

George Papandreou told a meeting of top bankers his
government made a conscious decision against default and against
leaving the euro, a decision that made “good economic sense” and
repeated a pledge that the country would pay its dues.
[ID:nLDE65A25V]

Among individual gainers, AXA rose 3.4 percent after it
confirmed it was in talks with Resolution Group (RSL.L: ) over the
sale of its British life insurance arm in a deal worth 2.75
billion pounds ($4.03 billion).

Within the sector, Aegon (AEGN.AS: ), ING (ING.AS: ), Old Mutual
(OML.L: ) and Prudential (PRU.L: ) rose 1.2 to 2.8 percent.

INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT SURGES

Investors’ sentiment got a boost from the macro front, with
data showing euro zone industrial output in April surged
year-on-year more than in any month in almost two decades,
bolstering the view that economic recovery could be gathering
pace.[ID:nBRLEHE633]

Positive sentiment surrounding the prospect of economic
recovery also helped boost miners, rising along with metal
prices.

Anglo American (AAL.L: ), Eurasian Natural Resources (ENRC.L: ),
Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: ), BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ), Xstrata (XTA.L: ) and Rio
Tinto (RIO.L: ) added 2.3 to 3.7 percent.

Oil giant BP (BP.L: ) trimmed the sharp gains made on Friday
and fell 6 percent. The stock is down about 44 percent since the
oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico started in mid-April.

Investors are awaiting the outcome of a board meeting on
Monday to discuss whether the company will cut or defer its
second-quarter dividend payment.

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ), Germany’s DAX
(.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) advanced 0.6 to 1.5
percent.

The Thomson Reuters Peripheral Eurozone Countries Index
(.TRXFLDPIPU: ) rose 2.5 percent.

Investment Basics

(Editing by David Cowell)

Banks lift Europe shares to 4-week high; AXA up