RPT-Miners, banks lead minor recovery in European shares
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.9 percent * European indexes find support at key technical levels * Rio Tinto bullish on asset sale as miners rally * Earnings worries hit Spectris, SAP, RWE By David Brett LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - European shares picked up on Friday after a five-day selloff on global growth concerns, with investors tucking into battered banks and miners . By 1047 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 and the STOXX 600 were both up 0.9 percent at 1,158.00 and 286.35 respectively. The FTSEurofirst found support at around 1,148 while the STOXX 660 was supported at 283, levels which both indexes have bounced off multiple times already this year. "Markets have rebounded after a few sessions of selling left the miners oversold, which has led to some bargain hunting, but I would say if you have to be in the miners Glencore is best placed and avoid miners with Russian exposure," Jawaid Afsar, sales trader at SecurEquity, said. He cautioned, however, that the market consolidation could continue with equity indexes potentially correcting by up to 10 percent from March highs. For broader indexes to avoid further downside high beta (more volatile) stocks such as miners and banks needed to maintain a rally, he said. Miners gained on Friday, helped by some bullish comment from global miner Rio Tinto. Rio told shareholders it saw a lot of appetite for a growing list of assets up for sale, brushing aside concerns that a lack of buyers may complicate its efforts to boost profitability and slash debt. Mining stocks have shed more than 20 percent this year on the back falling sales and concerns about the outlook for demand from China, the world's largest metals consumer. Banks, which are down more than 3 percent in 2013, also bounced back, rising 2.2 percent after a sharp selloff in the previous session. Citi strategist Jonathan Stubbs said the recent pullback in equities was an opportunity to "reload". European shares remained attractive on valuation grounds with earnings risk modest providing GDP does not fall off a cliff, he said. Earnings per share are forecast to rise 5.68 percent this year on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. European stocks trade on 12-month forward price-to-earnings of 11.32 times, compared with a long-term average of 12.18 times, according to Datastream. EARNINGS IN FOCUS European shares, however, are down around 3 percent since last Friday's close on growing concerns that recent economic data pointed to a weakening of the global economic recovery which could hit corporate earnings. That has pulled European equities further away from multi-year highs reached in March. U.S. investors cut their exposure to European stocks by the most in a year in the seven days to April 17. Earnings were in focus again on Friday. British engineer IMI shed 1.5 percent, with traders citing a readacross from sector peer Spectris, which reported weak first-quarter trading. Spectris tumbled 12.9 percent. "The broad-based slowdown has significant read-across for other companies in our coverage," Investec said, placing its forecasts for Spectris under review and initially expecting to downgrade it by up to 5 percent. German business software maker SAP shed 3.2 percent after it posted lower-than-expected first-quarter operating profit and revenue, reflecting a decline in revenues in Asia. Germany's No.2 utility RWE meanwhile extended recent falls, skidding 7.8 percent after warning on Thursday that it would be "virtually impossible" to maintain current earnings levels beyond this year.
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