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Europe: Shares snap 7-day losing streak as Deutsche Bank recovers


[LONDON] European shares snapped a seven-day losing streak on Wednesday after hitting two-year lows in the previous session, helped by some solid corporate earnings and a recovery in Deutsche Bank from 30-year lows.

Gains were slightly reduced after Janet Yellen said the Federal Reserve should be able to gradually adjust monetary policy thanks to strength in the US economy, despite growing concerns over the resilience of global growth.

"Yellen's speech has slightly raised concerns surrounding economic growth ... I think the rebound won't fizzle out today but it needs to be supported by more solid economic data," said Ifigest fund manager Roberto Lottici. "Markets still need to find their bearings."

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had fallen 1.6 per cent to its lowest point since September 2013 on Tuesday, ended up 1.8 per cent, after rising by as much as 2.9 per cent earlier in the session. Euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also gained 1.9 per cent.

Deutsche Bank climbed 10.2 per cent after the Financial Times reported it was considering buying back several billion euros of its debt in an attempt to shore up the tumbling value of its securities.

Investors said this was bringing back some calm to the banking sector, though the euro zone's banking index is still facing its seventh consecutive week of declines - its worst weekly losing streak since 1998 - as investors fret over the threat to banks' profitability and capital strength from compressed interest rate margins.

"The rebound in Deutsche Bank is helping to reassure some investors who had been concerned about possible contagion in the banking sector," said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Geneva-based Prime Partners.

Italian banks were also sharply higher, with Intesa Sanpaolo , UniCredit, Banco Popolare and Popolare Milano all up by between 9 per cent and 14 per cent, helped by expectations a cabinet meeting on banks could relax rules on layoffs that might help spur consolidation.

Shares in gambling group Unibet surged 6.9 per cent after its fourth-quarter underlying profit rose more than expected.

Norwegian mobile software company Opera jumped 33.5 per cent after a group of Chinese firms made a cash offer, valuing it at 10.5 billion crowns, or US$1.23 billion.

However, shares in Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk slumped 3.5 per cent after it reported a fourth-quarter net loss after booking impairments of US$2.6 billion on its oil assets.

According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, roughly half of the companies in the pan-European STOXX 600 index have reported fourth-quarter results, and 52 per cent have beaten or met expectations while 48 per cent have missed.

The FTSEurofirst remains down around 14 per cent in 2016, with markets such as the German DAX and British FTSE 100 more than 20 per cent below last year's record highs.


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