Oil, gold stocks help Europe shares bounce off lows

LONDON - Investors tucked into beaten down oil stocks, helping lift Europe¡¯s leading shares on Monday after a sharp retreat the previous week, while gold issues drew interest amid lingering worries about global growth.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Mon 22 Aug 2011, 7:10 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:47 AM

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 1.4 percent at 922.54 points at 1107 GMT, having traded just one third of its 90-day average and after falling 1.7 percent on Friday.

“We’re seeing indexes bounce in light volumes but sentiment remains broadly unchanged. This rally feels vacuous,” Jimmy Yates, head of equities at CMC Markets said.

Italian integrated oil firms were among the top performers on hopes of an end to the conflict in Libya.

ENI , the largest foreign oil operator in Libya, rose 5.6 percent and Saras gained 4.6 percent on prospects for a resumption of oil operations were Muammar Gaddafi’s regime to fold.

Heavyweight integrated oil stocks featured heavily too as investors bought back in on the dips.

Analysts at Barclays Capital noted that the high dividend yields, stong asset backing and robust balance sheets, which helped integrated oils significantly outperform the wider market during the 2008 credit crises, are even more prevelant now.

“These characteristics are even stronger this time around and, with the Brent oil price trading above $100/bl and our expectation that it will remain so, we see very little risk to sector dividends.”

The broker said Royal Dutch Shell , BG Group and Galp Energia , up between 1.1 and 2.7 percent, were its preferred play in the sector.

Oil services firm Petrofac added 4 after it posted forecast-beating first-half results and a buoyant outlook and hiked its dividend. ¨ûID:

Defensive plays

As concerns lingered over the state of the global economy, gold hovered near all-time highs at just below $1,900 an ounce.

China’s top official newspaper said on Monday the crises currently impacting the United States and Europe will have a far-reaching impact on its real economy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to close the door on the idea of “euro bonds”, which market commentators see as a way of the region easing the regions debt troubles.

So defensively-minded equity investors turned to gold plays such as Rangold and Petropavlovsk , up 3.9 percent and 6.2 percent respectively, as a proxy for the precious metal.

Citigroup raised its recommendation on Russian miner Petropavlovsk to “buy” and named Randgold as its preferred play in the sector, while upping its gold price forecasts by up to 25 percent.

“We have increased our gold price forecasts to accommodate the impact that global financial tension is having on gold,” Jon Bergtheil, analyst at Citigroup, said.

Defensively-perceived sectors such as healthcare were also in demand, with the sector index up 2.8 percent and Roche gained 3.5 percent.

Actelion rose 2.5 percent as Barclays Capital upgraded its rating on Europe’s largest pure-play biotech group to “overweight” from “underweight”, on valuation grounds.

Unrelenting concerns over euro zone debt and worries that the United States and Europe could fall into into recession have left this session’s rally feeling somewhat hollow.

The FTSEurofirst index is still down about 15 percent so far this month and is on track for its biggest monthly decline since the index started in 1999.

“The important aspect to note is if we break below the key lows of early August (888.11) then the trading landscape can get potentially nasty. That would negate the short term bullish outlook for this week and see the bearish trend resume,” said Sandy Jadeja, chief technical analyst at City Index.

With global growth at the forefront of investors’ minds, the meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday will be keenly awaited, with hopes further quantitative easing could be announced.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke used the same meeting last year to first hint at a second round of quantitative easing to help spur the U.S. economy.

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