European shares hit 6-mth closing high; oils gain

* FTSEurofirst 300 rises for 4th session, up 0.5 pct

* Investors expect Fed to ease policy on Wed

* Energy shares among top gainers; results, oil price help

By Brian Gorman

LONDON, Nov 2 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares rose for a fourth
straight day to hit a six-month closing high on Tuesday, with
energy companies BP (BP.L: ) and BG Group (BG.L: ) gaining after
profits beat forecasts.

The energy sector was also boosted by a weaker dollar
supporting crude prices, ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s
likely announcement of monetary easing on Wednesday.

The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top European shares
rose 0.5 percent to 1,093.65 points, its highest close since
late April. The European benchmark is up more than 69 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.

“We’re seeing a steady flow of positive earnings,” said Mark
Bon, fund manager at Canada Life in London, adding other factors
“pushing things forward” included a strong Chinese economy and
the expectation of retailers enjoying stronger trading at
Christmas.

British energy producer BG rose 3.4 percent after reporting
a 12 percent rise in third-quarter net profit compared with the
same period in 2009, and significantly upgrading resources at
its Brazilian oil fields.

BP gained 1.8 percent after its underlying performance beat
all expectations on higher refining margins and a lower tax
rate. BP, the world’s biggest non-government controlled oil
company by production last year, also lifted its estimate of the
likely cost of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill to $40 billion,
denting profits. [ID:nLDE6A109C]

Other heavyweight energy shares to rise included Total
(TOTF.PA: ) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.AS: ), up 1.5 and 1.7
percent respectively.

The weaker dollar also boosted metals prices, sending miners
higher.

Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ), Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: ) and Xstrata (XTA.L: )
rose between 3.2 and 3.5 percent.

BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ) rose 1.9 percent. Canada’s National
Post reported that the country is set to approve BHP Billiton’s
$39 billion bid for Potash Corp (POT.TO: ) this week, but it might
impose tough conditions which could threaten the world’s biggest
deal this year. [ID:nSGE6A103U]

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) ended the day 1.1
percent higher; Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC40
(.FCHI: ) rose 0.8 and 0.6 percent respectively.

Wall Street was higher around the time European bourses were
closing. The Dow Jones (.DJI: ), S&P 500 (.SPX: ) and Nasdaq
Composite (.IXIC: ) were up between 0.6 and 0.8 percent.

DANSKE BANK RISES

Danish lender Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO: ) rose 5 percent after
posting a 52 percent rise in third-quarter net profit helped by
a smaller-than-expected loss on loans in its home market as the
economy improved. [ID:nLDE6A106B]

But the banking sector was mixed. The problems of the
peripheral euro zone countries are still an issue for many
investors. Ireland is trying to convince investors the country
does not need a Greek-style bailout.

The cost of insuring against a sovereign debt default by
Ireland hit a record high on Tuesday with peripherals under
pressure again and with Allied Irish Banks (ALBK.I: ) falling 1.4
percent as it struggles to sell its UK units. [ID:nLDE6A118G]

Allied has lost more than 60 percent in the last three
months. Bank of Ireland (BLIR.I: ) fell 3.9 percent,

Some investors were reluctant to take large positions ahead
of Tuesday’s U.S midterm elections, which could alter the
balance of power in the House of Representatives, and a Fed
meeting, on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is expected to include
an announcement on further quantitative easing.

Markets are generally priced for the Fed to commit to buying
at least $500 billion in Treasury debt over the coming months.

Back in Europe, euro zone manufacturers boosted their output
in October at a faster pace than previously estimated, according
to a business survey. [ID:nLDE6A10TX]

(Editing by Erica Billingham)

European shares hit 6-mth closing high; oils gain