Spanish banks and Siemens lift Europe shares off lows

Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:21am EST

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.6 pct, ESTOXX 50 up 0.8 pct

* FTSEurofirst breaks three-day losing streak

* Spanish banks buoyed as economy recovers

* Siemens rises after Q1 results

* Emerging markets concerns still linger in background

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) - European shares bounced back from near one-month lows on Tuesday, helped by a rise in Spanish banks and higher profits at German engineer Siemens although the sharp sell-off in emerging markets continued to concern investors.

Some traders and analysts said any gains this week could be limited as expected cuts in U.S. monetary stimulus and fears that Chinese growth is slowing may further hit emerging economies that are dependent on foreign capital and exports.

Others, however, said the emerging markets slump could drive flows of money into western Europe, where some of the region's main economies are slowly recovering from the effects of the euro zone's prolonged sovereign debt crisis.

"No need to bottom-fish in emerging markets just yet. We still find the euro zone recovery theme to be more interesting," said JP Morgan's European equity strategist Mislav Matejka.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had fallen for the last three sessions to its lowest level in more than a month, bounced up 0.6 percent to 1,298.48 points in mid-session trading.

The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also advanced 0.8 percent to 3,039.50 points.

Gains in the FTSEurofirst 300 were driven by major Spanish banks such as Santander and BBVA, and Germany's Siemens, which reported a 15 percent rose in quarterly profit.

MORE SIGNS OF SPANISH RECOVERY

Spanish banks and Spain's IBEX equity index in general have outperformed this year as Spain's economy has shown signs of recovery.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Tuesday that gross domestic product would grow by close to 1 percent this year compared to the current official forecast of 0.7 percent.

Dan Ison, European equities fund manager at Threadneedle Investments, said Spain and Ireland - also emerging from an economic crisis - were among his favoured markets for 2014.

Spain's IBEX is down 0.1 percent since the start of 2014, outperforming a 1.3 percent fall in the FTSEurofirst 300, while Dublin's ISEQ equity index is up more than 2 percent.

"Spain can easily finance itself in open markets, and Ireland has recently conducted its first bond sale since the bailout," said Ison.

JP Morgan's Matejka backed banks among his favoured European equity sectors, while Sunrise Brokers' equity strategist Chris Mellor said the current pullback could be a good opportunity to add to equity holdings at cheap prices.

"I view the recent pull-back in equities as offering a buying opportunity rather than being a prompt to reduce our equities overweight," said Mellor.

"The problems in emerging markets may have further to run but balanced against this we continue to see better data in the developed world," he added.

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