* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.6 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.8 pct
* Relief at peaceful passage of Crimea referendum
* FTSEurofirst rebounds from last week's falls
* Sanctions awaited, could hit consumer-related stocks
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, March 17 European stocks rose on Monday,
with a major index recovering from its lowest level in more than
a month, after Crimea voted on Sunday to leave Ukraine and join
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.6 percent
to 1,292.48, led up by stocks exposed to Russia and those
sensitive to optimism about the global economy, such as banks.
However, the index remained 4.4 percent off its year-to-date
high, and traders stayed cautious, given the lack of a solution
to the face-off between Russia and the West and the possible
impact of sanctions.
The index saw its biggest loss since January before the
referendum. It closed down 0.7 percent at 1,284.32 points on
Friday, its lowest level since early February.
"We see the situation in Ukraine have a very limited impact
on global growth and should be contained," said Atif Latif, the
director of trading at Guardian Stockbrokers. "Much of this
selling we saw was due to the relative strong performance that
we have seen in the equity markets and subsequently was a chief
reason to reduce risk and take some profits."
Traders said that the market remained vulnerable, depending
on the details of any sanctions imposed by the United States and
the European Union. Investors fear they could set off a spiral
of economically damaging tit-for-tat measures.
"If we do see sanctions, that could lead to an increase in
energy prices, which could be negative for the consumer in
Europe and affect the top line of companies that depend on
them," said Dennis Jose, European equity strategist at Barclays.
The relief rally in Europe was led by a handful of larger
German stocks, with many DAX-listed firms having been
hard hit by the crisis in Ukraine. Stocks in
Russia also rallied.
Siemens, which has substantial exposure to Russia
and had fallen 6.4 percent over the last two
weeks, added the most points to the FTSEurofirst. It rose 2.9
percent, after JP Morgan and BofA Merrill Lynch upgraded the
stock, to "overweight" and "buy" respectively from "neutral".
German software firm SAP, which has over 6 percent
exposure to Russia, gained 2.3 percent. SAP also benefitted from
anticipation of improvement in its domestic market, which led
Citi to upgrade the stock "buy" from "neutral".
The EuroSTOXX 50 rose 0.8 percent to 3,029.14,
with futures on the index up 0.9 percent to 3,029. Clive Lambert
at FuturesTechs identified 3,021 as a resistance on the futures
chart. Recent falls meant that the medium-term trend looked
bullish, he said.
"If the bulls want to rescue this, now would be a good time
with some solid supports below."
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:
Today's European research round-up