Europe stocks snap losing run; SSL soars after bid

* FTSEurofirst 300 rises 1.5 pct

* SSL shot up 33 pct after Reckitt Benckiser bid

* Euro STOXX 50 tests strong resistance at 2,679 points

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

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, July 21 (BestGrowthStock) – European stocks rose on Wednesday
in a broad rally, climbing for the first time in a week, with
investors scooping up recently battered banking shares on hopes
the sector’s stress test results will be reassuring.

Consumer brand company SSL International (SSL.L: ) shot up 33
percent to an all-time high after consumer goods firm Reckitt
Benckiser (RB.L: ) agreed to buy the Durex condoms and Scholl
sandals maker for 2.5 billion pounds ($3.8 billion).
[ID:nLDE66K099]

At 1040 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top
European shares was up 1.5 percent at 1,021.93 points, bouncing
back after hitting a two-week low on Tuesday.

The Euro STOXX 50 (.STOXX50E: ), the euro zone’s blue chip
index, was up 1.2 percent at 2,659.17 points, after testing a
key resistance level of 2,669.29, the index’s 38.2 percent
Fibonacci retracement of the April high to the May low.

Banking stocks, which have been underperforming the broad
market this year on fears about their exposure to euro zone
sovereign debt, rallied on Wednesday, with Dexia (DEXI.BR: ) up
3.6 percent, BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: ) up 3.3 percent and Banco
Popolare (BAPO.MI: ) up 2.1 percent.

In an effort to calm investors’ jitters over the potential
impact of the euro zone debt crisis on Europe’s banking system,
regulators are assessing how 91 banks across Europe would cope
with another economic downturn, and the results are due on
Friday after the closing bell.
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
For a Take a Look on the stress tests: [ID:nLDE66K0YO]
For top 15 banks metrics comparison:
http://r.reuters.com/nyb97m
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French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on Tuesday
she was “confident” about French banks’ performance in the
tests, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday
the tests must restore confidence in the financial sector.

TRANSPARENCY QUESTION

“We still haven’t got any official details on the scenarios
being tested, and what will happen with the banks who failed the
tests,” said Philippe Waechter, head of economic research at
Natixis Asset Management.

“But if the tests are credible and transparent enough and if
the results confirmed — as it is expected — that the banking
system is in a relatively good shape, risk aversion could
further ease. Recent successful debt auctions in Europe have
already pointed into that direction.”

Risk aversion was retreating on Wednesday, with the VDAX-NEW
volatility index (.V1XI: ) — Europe’s main gauge of investor
anxiety — falling 3.6 percent.

Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index (.FTSE: ) was up 1.7
percent, Germany’s DAX index (.GDAXI: ) was up 1.3 percent, and
France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) was up 1.8 percent.

Tech shares rallied, helped by forecast-beating results from
Apple (AAPL.O: ). Invensys (ISYS.L: ) rose 4.2 percent, ARM Holdings
(ARM.L: ) gained 3.5 percent, Infineon (IFXGn.DE: ) added 2.2
percent and Nokia (NOK1V.HE: ) climbed 2.1 percent.

“The positive Apple numbers have given the whole sector a
major boost,” a trader said. [ID:nSGE66K0BZ]

Fiat (FIA.MI: ) surged 5.9 percent after the Italian car
maker’s quarterly profit beat expectations and it said it might
raise its targets later this year.

Investment Analysis

(Additional reporting by Josie Cox in Frankfurt; Editing by
Sharon Lindores)

Europe stocks snap losing run; SSL soars after bid