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Europe: Shares mixed after Brent crude hits US$50 a barrel

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[LONDON] European shares were mixed on Thursday, with banks on the back foot following a recent rally while commodity stocks were boosted as Brent crude oil prices hit US$50 a barrel for the first time since November.

The STOXX Europe 600 was down 0.1 per cent at 348.06, with the FTSEurofirst 300 flat. Both indexes hit a four week high in the previous session.

Britain's FTSE 100, France's CAC and Germany's DAX were all 0.1 per cent higher.

Banks fell 1.3 per cent after a strong rally on Wednesday, led down by Banco Popular which slumped 25 per cent after it announced a rights issue plan.

Other Spanish banks Caixabank and Banco de Sabadell fell 3.4 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively.

However, oil companies rose 0.6 per cent after Brent crude hit US$50 a barrel, boosted by a drawdown in crude stocks in the United States last week.