* FTSEurofirst 300 index closes 0.8 pct higher
* Banks top gainers after strong Citigroup results
* Shire gains on merger & acquisition news
* Banco Espirito Santo falls for 6th session
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, July 14 European equities rose on
Monday, rebounding from near two-month lows after their biggest
weekly loss in four months, with banks leading the rally
following strong earnings from Citigroup.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares
ended 0.8 percent firmer at 1,363.49 points, having fallen 3
percent last week - its biggest drop since March.
The STOXX Europe 600 Banking index gained 1.1
percent to become the top sectoral gainer in Europe after
results from U.S. bank Citigroup, which are keenly watched
by markets across the world, showed a stronger-than expected
adjusted quarterly profit and raised hopes for its peers.
"The market is expecting a good earnings season from the
banking sector and Citigroup results have strengthened those
expectations," said Lorne Baring, managing director Of B Capital
Wealth Management in Geneva.
Citibank cleared another hurdle by reaching a $7 billion
settlement over its sale of flawed mortgage securities - more
than twice what many analysts had expected but less than the $12
billion sought by the government.
"Investors have reacted positively following good results
from Citigroup and also because this big fine is now out of the
way. The market hates uncertainty," Baring added.
Other cyclical sectors - which do well in a healthy economy
- gained. Miners rose 1.10 percent on hopes a global
recovery would improve demand for raw material in the longer
term, and the retail sector rose 1.12 percent, led by
Sports Direct which gained 3.6 percent after announcing
plans to launch in Australia and New Zealand
"Sports Direct has consistently outperformed competitors.
They made a lot of money last year," said Mike Jarman, chief
market strategist at H2O Markets. "(Sports Direct founder Mike
Ashley) realises that to continue to create shareholder revenue
(he) has to expand elsewhere."
Among other climbers, London-listed drugmaker Shire
rose 0.7 percent after saying it was ready to recommend a new 31
billion pound ($53 billion) takeover offer from AbbVie,
entering talks after receiving a fifth bid from the U.S. firm.
"AbbVie are coming in at a decent level. It's attractive to
Shire shareholders and I think they'll take it - AbbVie sounded
their key shareholders out and I think a fair level has been
reached," TJM Partners' head of trading Manoj Ladwa said.
Swiss logistics firm Kuehne & Nagel jumped 4.5
percent following news its net profit rose 8.3 percent to 313
million Swiss francs ($351.49 million) in the first half on
revenues of 8.5 billion francs.
On the downside, Portugal's biggest listed bank Banco
Espirito Santo fell 7.5 percent, taking its losses
since early July to nearly 50 percent.
BES was at the centre of global market jitters last week
after the disclosure of financial irregularities at a web of
family-held holding companies behind the lender.
Credit Suisse remained underweight Portuguese equities
despite a broadly positive view of peripheral Europe, citing its
private sector debt levels, which are the highest of any
developed nation, poor economic momentum and risk of deflation.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Additional reporting by Andrew Winterbottom in London and
Alistair Smout in Edinburgh; Editing by Catherine Evans)