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Europe: Shares rise, helped by banks; Glencore leads miners lower

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[LONDON] European shares rose on Wednesday, helped by a buoyant banking sector, while a disappointing update from British miner Glencore dragged the mining sector lower.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up 0.4 per cent for its third straight session of gains.

Glencore declined 3 per cent after reporting a fall in underlying profit and lowering its debt target.

"At certain levels (Glencore) may look pretty attractive for entry for a buy. However ...after the rally that it's seen, this report doesn't really warrant a leg higher in the share price," Jonathan Roy, advisory investment manager at Charles Hanover Investments, said.

Europe's Basic Resources index fell 1.4 per cent as copper prices hit two-month lows.

Italian lender UniCredit soared 8 per cent, making it the top Stoxx gainer, helped for a second day by talk it might soon sell its stake in Polish unit Pekao Bank.

Europe's Stoxx 600 Bank was the biggest sectoral gainer, up 2 per cent.

South Africa-exposed stocks including Investec and Old Mutual fell after South Africa's finance minister was summonsed by police over an investigation into a surveillance unit in the tax service, sending the rand tumbling.

Among the top gainers, Swedish forest products group SCA hit a record high, soaring 7.5 per cent after announcing plans to split into two listed firms.

British advertising firm WPP rose 1.9 per cent after beating first-half net sales forecasts.

"We are encouraged by the positive trading performance and operational momentum revealed in this morning's results. We remain bullish on WPP's ability to capitalise on a solid medium-term outlook for global advertising spend," Roddy Davidson, analyst at Shore Capital Markets, said in a note.