European shares edge higher, tracking Asia gains

* FTSEurofirst 300 rises 0.1 pct

* Oils mostly higher as crude stays above $91

* Rio Tinto falls as output affected by rain in Australia

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

By Brian Gorman

LONDON, Dec 29 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares edged higher in
early trade on Wednesday, tracking gains in Asia, with Total
(TOTF.PA: ) among the top gainers as oil prices hovered near their
highest in more than two years.

At 0929 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top
European shares was up 0.1 percent at 1,140.91 points, after
rising 0.3 percent in the previous session. Volume was low, with
some traders still on holiday.

The index has gained 6.9 percent in December, on course for
its biggest monthly rise since March. The benchmark is up more
than 76 percent from its lifetime low of March 2009, with
several major economies having emerged from recession, helped by
stimulus from governments and central banks worldwide.

“The one thing the market has got going for it is the U.S.
economy regaining momentum. The Fed has got its foot to the
floor in terms of monetary policy,” said Mike Lenhoff, chief
strategist at Brewin Dolphin Securities, in London.

“At the moment the market doesn’t want to know the bad news
– and it’s very reluctant to give up any ground whatsoever.”

French heavyweight Total rose 1.1 percent, as oil (CLc1: )
stayed above $91 a barrel following recent cold temperatures.
Other oils to gain included ENI (ENI.MI: ), up 0.6 percent.

Although temperatures have picked up, a key U.S. report due
on Wednesday was expected to show a decline in inventories.
Crude prices were also supported by a weaker dollar.

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was flat, and
Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC40 (.FCHI: ) rose 0.2 and
0.3 percent respectively.

London shares were trading for the first time since
Christmas, and to some extent were catching up with the decline
on mainland Europe earlier in the week, partly due to China
raising interest rates on Christmas day.

MINERS MIXED

However, London Metal Exchange copper still rose to a record
high of $9,447 a tonne on Wednesday, with trade resuming after
the Christmas break, during which U.S. futures rallied to a top
fuelled by a weaker dollar and worries about supply from Chile.
Miners were mixed. Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ) fell 0.9 percent after
declaring force majeure on some coal sales contracts due to
heavy rains at collieries in Australia’s Queensland state.
[ID:nSYU010748]

Randgold Resources (RRS.L: ) rose 3.7 percent, having fallen
heavily on Friday, after saying output was suffering.

Among other stocks, Lagardere (LAGA.PA: ) rose 1.3 percent
after the New York Post reported rumours that Meredith Corp
(MDP.N: ) is interested in buying its international magazine
business. [ID:nLDE6BS0D3]

Smith & Nephew (SN.L: ) fell 1.8 percent, after the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration warned the British orthopaedic device
maker that it failed to establish adequate manufacturing
validation procedures for a hip replacement device.
[ID:nLDE6BS0DN]

China’s stock market rebounded 0.7 percent in thin trading
on Wednesday following a nearly 4 percent drop over the past two
days, as investors started buying property and financial shares
after tightening fears triggered by Saturday’s interest rate
rise pushed down valuations.
(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

European shares edge higher, tracking Asia gains