European shares gain for sixth day in seven

By Brian Gorman

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – European shares rose for the sixth session in seven on Tuesday, with Barclays (BARC.L: ) leading banks higher after it kicked off the UK sector’s reporting season with forecast-beating results.

Commodity shares gained on higher crude and metals prices, which were helped by U.S. manufacturing data.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top shares rose 1 percent to 1,002.10 points, its highest close since February 3.

The index is down 4.2 percent this year, partly due to worries about Greece’s deficit, but is up more than 55 percent from the lifetime low it hit on March 9, 2009.

“The cyclical tailwind is still intact, with good support from economic data, as well as from companies’ earnings,” said Tammo Greetfeld, equity strategist at UniCredit Group.

“But there is downside risk from how the Greek deficit problems evolve.”

Banks added the most points to the index. Barclays jumped 6.8 percent after the bank said it had started the year well having beat expectations, with 2009 profits of over 11.6 billion pounds ($18.18 billion).

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) rose 5.3 percent after JPMorgan (JP.N: ) said it was buying the non-U.S. assets of commodities joint venture RBS Sempra from RBS and Sempra Energy (SRE.N: ) for about $1.7 billion cash.

BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: ) rose 2.8 percent ahead of results on Wednesday.

Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX: ), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: ), HSBC (HSBA.L: ), Lloyds (LLOY.L: ) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: ) rose between 1.6 and 4.7 percent.

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index ended the day 1.5 percent higher; Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI: ) rose 1.5 percent and France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) 1.7 percent respectively.

Wall Street, which was closed on Monday for a holiday, was higher around the time European bourses were closing. The Dow Jones (.DJI: ), S&P 500 (.SPX: ) and Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC: ) were up between 0.8 and 1 percent.

A gauge of manufacturing in New York state rose in February as inventories jumped, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Tuesday. The New York Fed’s “Empire State” general business conditions index rose to 24.91 in February from 15.92 in January.

MINERS GAIN

Miners were in favor as copper rose more than 3 percent, and other metals gained.

Anglo American (AAL.L: ), Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ), BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ), Xstrata (XTA.L: ) and Vedanta (VED.L: ) were 3.1 to 5.2 percent higher.

On the downside, French company L’Oreal (OREP.PA: ) fell 4.7 percent, having announced fourth-quarter sales below forecasts late on Monday.

Flavors and fragrances maker Givaudan (GIVN.VX: ) slipped 3.7 percent after it posted a full-year net profit of 199 million Swiss francs ($185.3 million), while analysts in a Reuters poll had expected 205 million francs.

European ministers told Greece on Tuesday it may need to take further steps to bring a swollen debt under control and calm “irrational” financial markets, as wage cuts already announced by Athens sparked another strike.

In other economic news, German analyst and investor sentiment fell less sharply than expected in February, a closely watched survey showed, suggesting Europe’s largest economy may be more resilient than feared.

Investing

(Editing by Sharon Lindores)

European shares gain for sixth day in seven