Banks lead European shares higher in choppy session

Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:22am EDT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct at 1,185.46

* HSBC and StanChart leads banks higher on Citi note

* Danske falls on capital concerns

* M&A chatter lifts Moeller, Kabel, TNT,

By David Brett

LONDON, June 18 (Reuters) - Banks led gains in European shares on Tuesday with HSBC and Standard Chartered boosted by a positive Citigroup note, while speculation over monetary policy tweaks in the United States and China created an uncertain backdrop to trading.

Europe's biggest bank HSBC and peer Standard Chartered each added more than 2 percent after Citigroup wrote the two banks should benefit from any easing in the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond-buying programme.

Danske Banke missed out on the banking rally, falling 5.7 percent after Danish regulators ordered the country's biggest financial institution to set aside more capital.

By 1049 GMT, the broader FTSEurofirst 300 was up 1.13 points, or 0.1 percent at 1,185.46, rebounding off a session low of 1,178.41.

Markets were volatile as investors awaited news from the Fed, which is meeting over the next two days to discuss, among other things, how long to stick with the stimulus measures that have helped inflate global stock markets.

Adding to the uncertainty, traders cited a Wall Street Journal report quoting an executive at a state-owned Chinese bank as saying the central bank could ease policy by the end of Wednesday by cutting lenders' required reserves rates.

A rise in Germany's ZEW investor morale helped keep the FTSEurofirst 300 in the black.

Results and acquisition news were in focus as Britain's Whitbread added 2.6 percent, hitting an all-time high after posting a 3.1 percent rise in first quarter sales.

Kabel Deutschland rose 3.9 percent after it said Liberty Global made a takeover offer for the German cable operator, raising the possibility of a bidding contest with Vodafone.

TNT Express climbed 1.8 percent, with traders citing market speculation that the Dutch mail delivery group may be the subject of a bid from Deutsche Post.