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Billions wiped off travel shares after Paris attacks, overall market steady

An American Airlines airplane takes off from Heathrow airport in London July 3, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

* FTSEurofirst up 0.2 percent, France's CAC down 0.1 pct

* Travel, leisure stocks down 1.3 pct on Paris attacks

* Energy shares struggle to hold on to gains

* KBC rises on solid results, Sonova slumps (Adds closing prices)

By Alistair Smout and Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - European shares held steady on Monday, supported by gains in the energy sector that helped offset a slump in travel stocks following Friday's militant attacks in Paris.

Energy shares outpaced the broader market, buoyed by the prospect of higher oil prices following stepped-up French air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria.

French shares slightly underperformed when markets reopened for the first time since the coordinated suicide bombings and shootings by Islamist militants that killed 129 people.

Around 2.3 billion euros ($2.46 billion) were wiped off the STOXX 60 Travel & Leisure index amid fears that the sector could be harmed by a loss of consumer confidence.

Shares in French hotel group Accor fell 4.7 percent, Air France fell 5.7 percent while shares in Eurotunnel and Aeroports de Paris, the operator of Paris' Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, were down over 3.8 percent.

Luxury stocks were also under pressure. Hermes, LVMH and Kering, which get a large part of their sales from foreign tourists in Paris, were down 0.7-1.4 percent.

"Paris is one of the most important cities worldwide in terms of luxury spending and the timing (of the attacks) is not good too -- a few weeks before Christmas, the most important period for retailers," said Gregoire Laverne, fund manager at Roche Brune Asset Management.

"Those attacks will definitely have a long-term negative impact on the tourism sector in France, and all sectors (which depend) on tourists, but it cannot be measured yet ... although the market tends to forecast the worst case scenario."

Some highlighted France's Showroomprive.com as an outperformer in the fashion sector, up 0.8 percent. Internet-only retailers are seen as more insulated from the drop in confidence.

"Companies that retail over the web could outperform," said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu.

Outside the retail and travel sectors, European stock markets were broadly resilient, with the attacks seen as strengthening the case for the European Central Bank to provide further monetary stimulus when it meets next month.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index edged up 0.2 percent to 1,460.76 points, with France's CAC down 0.1 percent.


Energy stocks were the leading sectoral gainers, rising 1 percent. Stronger early gains were made as crude oil prices edged up after France carried out large-scale air strikes on Islamic State in Syria.

However, the sector remained positive even as oil prices turned negative, with some traders saying there was value in a sector which is down around 20 percent since April.

KBC rose 3 percent after the Belgian financial group posted a bigger-than-expected net profit, as a strong performance in its traditional banking and insurance businesses made up for a weaker showing of its dealing room.

Among fallers, Sonova dropped 7.8 percent as the hearing aid maker cut its sales and profit forecasts after weak cochlear implant sales, sluggish business with U.S. veterans and a squeeze on overseas earnings from the strong Swiss franc.

($1 = 0.9344 euros)

Today's European research round-up (Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni in Milan; Editing by Mark Heinrich)