European shares little changed; automakers gain

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) – European shares were little
changed in early trade on Tuesday, though automakers gained on a
positive vehicle sales report and analysts said that improving
economic fundamentals are expected to support equities.

At 0718 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) index of top
European shares was almost flat at 1,125.08 points.

“Despite a backdrop of concerns, investors have been trying
to focus on the economic data. Overall, investors are
interpreting what they have seen in recent weeks as reasonably
positive,” said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves
Lansdown.

“The weekly U.S. jobless figures have not been too bad over
the last couple of weeks and there is some optimism that this
Friday’s report will be good.”

Automakers were among the top gainers, with the European
auto sector index up 0.9 percent, on figures showing new
commercial vehicle sales in the European Union continued their
recovery in February and rose 16.8 percent year-on-year across
the region. Renault (RENA.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 1.4 percent. [ID:nWEA1288]

Banks lost ground, with the STOXX Europe 600 banking index
(.SX7P: Quote, Profile, Research) down 0.2 percent.
(Reporting by Atul Prakash)

European shares little changed; automakers gain