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Europe: Shares steady as firmer banks offset weaker telecoms

[LONDON] European stock markets were steady on Monday, as a rise in the shares of major banks such as Bankia offset a fall in the telecoms sector after Nokia settled a dispute with Samsung.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, whose 6 per cent fall in January was its worst monthly drop at the start of a year since 2008, rose 0.1 per cent.

Bankia rose 7.1 per cent after the state-controlled Spanish bank reported higher profits.

But shares in Nokia and Alcatel - which Nokia is in the process of acquiring - slumped around 10 per cent after Nokia settled a patent dispute with South Korea's Samsung.