* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 percent at 1,159.67
* European set for first monthly fall in a year
* Schroders boosted by Exane upgrade
* Vodafone climbs as Deutsche upgrades
By David Brett
LONDON, June 28 European shares opened
marginally higher on Friday, with trading expected to be subdued
as investors avoided making large bets at the end of a volatile
quarter and before U.S. economic data.
Rising markets benefited financials, with asset manager
Schroders, up 2.5 percent, also aided by an upgrade from
Exane BNP Paribas to "outperform".
By 0730 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was up 2.25
points, or 0.2 percent, at 1,159.67, with the index on course to
suffer its first monthly loss in a year, despite having rallied
around 3 percent from Monday's lows.
"We are higher on window dressing for the
month/quarter/half-year end," said Jawaid Afsar, sales trader at
He said that having bounced off Monday's year lows, a hold
above the 200-day moving average could be enough to see indexes
He targeted a return to the 6,400 level on Britain's FTSE
100 over the next few sessions after central bankers
sought to defuse concerns over slowing support for the global
Soothing words from policymakers have helped calm volatility
- a crude gauge of fear among investors - from 10-month
highs on Monday.
With central bankers saying any scaling back of stimulus in
the United States will depend largely on economic data, the
market will focus on Chicago's June index of manufacturing
activity at 1345 GMT and Thomson Reuters/University of
Michigan's final June consumer sentiment index at 1355 GMT.
Citi increased its exposure to financials and said it was
using the recent market pull-back as an opportunity to raise
insurers back to "overweight", citing, among other
reasons, valuation, improving return on equity, positive
earnings momentum and correlation to rising bond yields.
Its top picks are Axa and Aviva.
Telecoms firm Vodafone rose too, up 1 percent.
The stock was helped by Deutsche Bank's upgrade to "buy" and
reports that John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media, is sounding
out options for cable operator Charter Communications
to acquire larger rival Time Warner Cable.
Analysts said that if true, it could be good news for
Vodafone as it meant it might not be forced to raise its bid
further for Kabel Deutschland.