European shares edge higher as BNP Paribas rebounds

LONDON, July 1 Tue Jul 1, 2014 3:11am EDT

LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) - European shares edged higher on Tuesday, with BNP Paribas among the top performers as traders expressed relief at the fact that the French bank had settled a U.S. sanctions case.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up by 0.2 percent at 1,373.70 points in early session trading - still some 2 percent below a 6-1/2 year peak of 1,399.62 points reached last month.

BNP Paribas rose 2.7 percent, making it the best performer in percentage terms on the FTSEurofirst index.

BNP Paribas pleaded guilty to two criminal charges and agreed to pay almost $9 billion to resolve allegations that in many financial dealings it violated U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran.

However, analysts and investors said the stock could now recover ground lost over the last few months due to the fact that BNP Paribas had finally settled the matter with U.S. authorities.

Shares in BNP had lost as much as 20 percent since the French bank first announced the provision for the fine on Feb. 13, representing a wipeout in market value of about 15.4 billion euros ($21 billion). (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Blaise Robinson)