Europe stocks rebound after sharp 2-day sell-off

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.8 pct after 4.2 pct slide in 2 days

* Santander’s strong results help banks rebound

* Greek, Spanish, Portugese stocks bounce back

* Stock valuations at lowest since mid-February

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

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, April 29 (BestGrowthStock) – European stocks rose on
Thursday, recovering from the market’s worst two-day slide in
nearly three months, as the Fed’s more upbeat view on the U.S.
economy eclipsed the euro zone’s sovereign debt fears.

Positive corporate results also helped lift investors’ mood,
with Banco Santander (SAN.MC: ) up 4 percent after the euro zone’s
largest bank posted forecast-beating results.

At 1130 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top
European shares was up 0.8 percent at 1,065.37 points. The
benchmark index had tumbled 4.2 percent over the past two
sessions after credit downgrades of Greece, Portugal and Spain
triggered a sell-off on stock markets worldwide.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates
on hold near zero and promised to keep them low for an extended
period, while offering a more upbeat view of the U.S. economy
and employment prospects, sparking a rally on Wall Street. [.N]

After hammering the market over the past few days, fears
over the sovereign debt of Greece, Portugal and Spain somewhat
abated on Thursday, prompting a rebound in regional markets.

Portugal’s benchmark index (.PSI20: ) was up 3 percent,
Greece’s index (.ATG: ) up 6.5 percent and Spain’s IBEX (.IBEX: ) up
2.4 percent. So far this year, the three indexes are
respectively down 15 percent, 17 percent and 13 percent, while
the FTSEurofirst 300 is up 2 percent.

EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said
the EU should complete talks with Greece “within days” on an aid
package that is conditional on Greece cutting its deficit.

Recently beaten-down Greek banks National Bank (NBGr.AT: ) and
Alpha Bank (ACBr.AT: ) rebounded 14 and 9 percent, respectively.
“Our model is not too much concerned about the current
disturbences such as the debt crisis, and it signals that this
could be a good opportunity to buy again,” said Hans-Olov
Bornemann, head of global quant team and senior portfolio
manager at SEB Asset Management in Stockholm.

“The impact for European companies in terms of what’s going
on in Europe is probably not going to be as bad as people fear
at the moment, in part because they are multinational groups.
What’s going on in China is much more important.”

Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index (.FTSE: ) was up 0.7
percent, Germany’s DAX index (.GDAXI: ) up 0.5 percent, and
France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) up 0.8 percent.

OIL SPILL WORRIES HIT BP

Shares of oil major BP (BP.L: ) dropped 1.3 percent. The U.S.
Coast Guard said on Wednesday five times as much oil as
previously estimated was leaking from a well beneath the site of
a deadly drilling rig explosion as the slick threatened
wide-scale coastal damage for four U.S. Gulf Coast states.

BP is the owner of the well and is financially responsible
for the cleanup.

Unilever Plc (ULVR.L: ) climbed 3.8 percent. The consumer
goods group beat forecasts with a rise in underlying sales.

Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA: ), the world’s second-largest spirits
group, rose 4 percent after raising its full-year profitability
target and posting forecast-beating quarterly sales.

“Corporate results are pretty good, but what the market
really needs is a broad deal not only with Greece but for the
euro zone in general, to remove all the contagion fears,” said
David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading, at Global
Equities in Paris.

Investors were also digesting positive news on the macro
side. Data showed on Wednesday euro zone economic sentiment
jumped much more than expected in April despite the Greek fiscal
crisis, signalling strengthening economic activity in the second
quarter. [ID:nLDE63S16A]

The recent pullback on the market has dragged European stock
valuation to their lowest level since Feb. 15. The average
price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of stocks in the FTEurofirst 300
is 14.15. This compares with a current P/E ratio of 17.2 percent
for Wall Street’s S&P 500 index (.SPX: ).

Stocks

(Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

Europe stocks rebound after sharp 2-day sell-off