European shares edge up on miners; banks fall

* FTSEurofirst 300 index rises 0.3 percent

* Banks fall on sovereign debt worries

* Miners gain tracking metal prices higher

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

By Joanne Frearson

LONDON, Nov 24 (BestGrowthStock) – European share prices edged
higher on Wednesday from a six-week closing low hit in the
previous session, though trading was choppy as concerns
persisted over military tensions in the Korean peninsula and the
Irish financial crisis.

The market dipped in and out of positive territory after the
North’s official KCNA news agency said South Korea’s actions
were “driving the situation to the brink of war.”

On Tuesday North Korea fired dozens of shells on a South
Korean island, prompting a U.S. aircraft carrier group to set
off for Korean waters on Wednesday to join exercises with South
Korea from Sunday. [ID:nL3E6MO04H]

Meanwhile the Irish government was preparing to unveil its
four-year austerity plan, which aims to cut welfare spending
sharply and raise taxes to help reduce its yawning spending
deficit. [ID:nLDE6AM25A]

However, the market got some support after the IFO index of
German business sentiment hit a record high in November.
[ID:nBEB004484]

By 1024 GMT the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index
of top shares was 0.3 percent higher at 1,080.57 points after
ending down 1.5 percent on Tuesday.

“The market has concerns over the ongoing situation in
Korea,” Franz Wenzel, strategist at AXA Investment Managers, in
Paris said.

“There are still a lot of questions surrounding the bailout
of Ireland and the budget on Dec. 7; the government is in a
limbo and we do not know if it will go through.

Banking stocks featured among the worse performers
continuing their falls from the previous sessions on the euro
zone sovereign debt worries.

Bank of Ireland (BKIR.I: ) dropped 15.3 percent, while Banco
Santander (SAN.MC: ), Barclays (BARC.L: ) and Deutsche Bank
(DBKGn.DE: ) fell 1.2 to 2.2 percent.

The euro zone peripheral markets were under pressure, with
the Thomson Reuters Peripheral Eurozone Countries Index
(.TRXFLDPIPU: ) down 1 percent.

MINERS GAIN

Mining stocks gained ground following a sell-off in the
previous sessions, supported by firmer metal prices which
received a boost from an easier dollar.

Xstrata (XTA.L: ), Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ) and Anglo American
(AAL.L: ) rose 0.6 to 1.3 percent.

Strong company earnings news also gave support to the
market. Compass (CPG.L: ) gained 3.3 percent after full-year
profits beat forecasts and the world’s biggest contract caterer
raised its dividend.

“Today’s full-year results are very good,” analysts at
Investec write in a note to clients. “A key feature of today’s
announcement is a rebasing of the dividend, with the full-year
payment up by a third, well ahead of expectations

Johnson Matthey (JMAT.L: ) rose 1.6 percent after first-half
profits beat expectations.

Elsewhere, British testing equipment firm Intertek (ITRK.L: )
and outsourcing group Capita (CPI.L: ) rose 5.4 and 1.6 percent,
respectively, after Goldman Stocks upgraded both stocks to its
“Conviction Buy” list.

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index was 0.3 percent
higher, Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI: ) was up 0.4 percent and France’s
CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) was 0.1 percent higher.
(Editing by Greg Mahlich)

European shares edge up on miners; banks fall