European shares rebound from post-election lows

Mon May 7, 2012 9:08am EDT

* Euro STOXX 50 up 0.2 pct after hitting 4-1/2 month lows

* Asia's fall after U.S. data exaggerated the sell-off

* Greek problems seen contained, Athens stocks down 6 pct

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) - Euro zone blue chips turned positive by mid-session on Monday, bouncing back from oversold territory after a knee-jerk reaction to French and Greek elections results sent the market to 4-1/2 month lows in early trade.

The only two major Greek parties to have supported an EU/IMF aid programme to keep the country afloat failed to win enough votes to form a ruling coalition. (ID:nL5E8G707V) The news sent the Greek bourse down some 6 percent but the follow-through on European markets was short-lived.

"In the short term the contagion from Greece is contained as far as we can see. Investors are not that worried about the impact of Greece on the broader euro zone right now ... They don't matter that much in the end - euro zone is so much more than Greece," said Peter Garnry, equity strategist at Saxo Bank.

"The major hit we saw in the early morning was probably the shock from the sharp declines in Asia which also had to discount the poor (U.S.) non-farm payrolls figures from Friday. As the market digested the Asian moves and the election results, it's bounced back. That's also been helped by slightly better factory orders from Germany."

Japan's Nikkei slid nearly 3 percent, its biggest fall since November, as Asian markets had their first chance to react to weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data - already priced in by Europe's market - alongside the Greek and French elections.

The Euro STOXX 50 index of euro zone blue chips was up 0.2 percent at 2,252.65 points by 1234 GMT after falling as far as 2,204.73 - weakest since December - in early trade.

The early fall added to the drop of nearly 100 points last week, when disappointing U.S. economic data dented optimism that growth the world's largest economy would drive corporate earnings in crisis-struck Europe.

That sent the Euro STOXX 50 into oversold territory on the 7-day relative strength index before the gradual rebound.

News in late morning that German industrial orders rose more than expected helped brighten sentiment.

The French CAC 40 index also rebounded from earlier losses as investors bet that Socialist Francois Hollande, who took the presidential seat from Nicolas Sarkozy over the weekend as expected, would not bring about too drastic policy changes.

Markets have had two weeks to get used to a Hollande victory after he took the lead in the first round of the polls in April.

Volumes were relatively thin, since the London stock market - Europe's biggest bourse - was closed for a public holiday.