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European shares rise for fifth day on banks boost

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) - European shares gained for the fifth day on Tuesday, bolstered by bank and retails stocks while data out of China added to hopes of stabilisation in the world's second-largest economy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.2 percent by 0928 GMT led by Germany's DAX 0.6 percent rise while Spanish and Italian bourses were flat to modestly lower.

Also encouraging investors was a ZEW survey showing the mood among German investors improved in April, as the growth outlook for Europe's largest economy brightened amid a resilient global economy and a delay to Britain's departure from the EU.

Zalando jumped more than 10 percent, making it the top performer on the STOXX and pushing the retail sector 0.7 percent higher after the e-commerce company said it expected to post an operating profit for the first quarter.

Another major boost to STOXX 600 were banks, the best performing sector this month after auto stocks.

Big Wall street banks Goldman Sachs and Citigroup reported disappointing revenue estimates on Monday, sending their shares lower. Still, both lenders beat quarterly profit estimates.

"We saw a sort of a selloff in Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and Citigroup but if you look at the earnings, you can clearly see the earnings were really really strong," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at TF Global Markets (UK) Ltd in London.

"This optimism is really feeding into the European banking sector as well. When they will start to announce their earnings, the expectations are high that we are going to see some good numbers coming out of the European banks after a long time."

Italy's top bank, UniCredit SpA, gained after it and two subsidiaries agreed to pay $1.3 billion to U.S. authorities to settle investigations of violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran and other countries.

Steel pipe maker Tenaris also led gains on the pan-region index after an Argentine court reversed a decision against the company's chief executive and chairman.

Security company G4S gained after it reported a 4.8 percent rise in first-quarter revenue and said it had made good progress in a review to separate its cash business.

Italian utility Ascopiave rose after A2A and other utilities made a joint non-binding bid for its assets.

Lufthansa reversed early losses to edge up 0.4 percent. Germany's biggest airline posted a loss in the first-quarter hurt by rising fuel costs and overcapacity in Europe.

Hays Plc tumbled 4 percent as the British recruiter missed expectations for quarterly net fee growth below due to weakness in its biggest market, Germany.

Oil stocks including BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell were the biggest weights on the STOXX 600, tracking declining crude prices.

Investors breathed a sigh of relief last week after central banks in the United States and Europe maintained their dovish stance and Britain lawmakers got an extension on their country's exit from the European Union.

Signs that Sino-China trade talks are in their final stages have aided the recent buoyant mood. Closer to home, the European Trade Commissioner said late Monday that the European Union is ready to start talks on a trade agreement with the United States and aims to conclude a deal before the end of the year.

The index of STOXX 50 volatility, the main gauge of market anxiety in Europe, fell for the sixth day to touch its lowest since mid-January 2018.


(Reporting by Medha Singh and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens)