Europe shares snap losing streak; BNP Paribas up

* FTSEurofirst 300 index up 0.5 percent

* Banks gain; BNP Paribas, Commerzbank up on results

* Alcatel-Lucent drops after results

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

By Joanne Frearson

LONDON, May 6 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares rose on Thursday,
recovering earlier sharp falls as strong results from BNP
Paribas (BNPP.PA: ) boosted the banking sector, offsetting
concerns that the Greek debt crisis could spread.

Banking stocks recovered from earlier falls to feature among
the best performers. BNP Paribas gained 2.6 percent after it
posted first-quarter net profit that beat analysts’ forecasts.
[ID:nLDE6442OD]

Germany’s second-biggest lender Commerzbank (CBKG.DE: ) rose
3.4 percent after reporting better-than-expected results for the
first quarter thanks to solid trading results. [ID:nLDE6441ZJ]

By 0909 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: )
index of top shares was up 0.5 percent at 1,028.66 points.

“We commenced on a backward foot, but we seem to be
recovering. The sell-off has really come over fears of euro zone
sovereign debt, but the underlying fundamentals have not
changed,” said Angus Campbell, head of sales at Capital Spreads
in London.

“Such a substantial move to the downside is going to
naturally attract buyers which will lend support to the market.
Economic and corporate data on the whole has been strong and the
appetite for equities is still there.”

Insurers were also on the upside. Swiss Re (RUKN.VX: ), the
world’s second-biggest reinsurer, gained 5.4 percent after
beating profit expectations in the first quarter.
[ID:nLDE6441SB]

But AXA (AXAF.PA: ), Europe’s second-biggest insurer, dipped
2.1 percent after it posted a 1.1 percent rise in first-quarter
revenue that missed analysts’ forecasts. [ID:nLDE6441YV]

MINERS GAIN

Miners rebounded from recent falls after the Australian
government imposed a 40 percent mining tax on the sector, with
higher copper prices also helping.

Anglo American (AAL.L: ), Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ), BHP Billiton
(BLT.L: ), Vedanta Resources (VED.L: ) and Xstrata (XTA.L: ) rose 2.4
to 3.8 percent.

In individual stocks, Bureau Veritas (BVI.PA: ) gained 5.3
percent after the French certification company reported
first-quarter sales that pleased investors.

On the downside, telecom gear maker Alcatel-Lucent (ALUA.PA: )
fell 4.9 percent after it posted a wider first-quarter net loss
and lower revenues than expected. [ID:nLDE6441SA]

Later in the session, investors will eye the European
Central Bank monthly rate meeting and, while it is expected to
keep rates unchanged at 1 percent, it might seek to assure
markets that it can prevent the Greek debt crisis spreading.
[ID:nLDE6440NA]

Britons also vote on Thursday in what is forecast to be the
closest election since 1992, with the opposition Conservatives
struggling to convert their opinion poll advantage into an
outright majority. [ID:nLDE64429K]

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index was up 0.5
percent, Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI: ) was 0.6 percent higher and
France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) was up 0.6 percent.

Stock Investing

(Editing by Erica Billingham)

Europe shares snap losing streak; BNP Paribas up