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* Stock markets rise, helped by dovish Fed minutes
* Ct Suisse strategist backs “overweight” on growth stocks
* Vestas Wind surges after strong set of results
* STOXX 600 still down around 7 pct in 2016
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Thursday to break a losing streak this week, with gains in leading financials and industrial stocks helping to lift the market.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index, which had fallen in the last four sessions, was up 0.4 percent. This index is down about 7 percent so far this year, although it has recovered much of the ground lost in the immediate aftermath of June’s shock “Brexit” vote for Britain to quit the European Union.
Wall Street rallied overnight, lifting Asian stocks, after minutes from the latest U.S Federal Reserve meeting showed U.S. policy committee members opposed to a near-term rate hike outnumbered those who wanted one.
“When you get yourself on the back foot, it takes a while to steady the ship, but the general backdrop of quantitative easing and low interest rates is keeping equities up,” said Rupert Baker, a European equity sales executive at Mirabaud Securities.
Shares in Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind surged around 10 percent after Vestas posted a stronger-than-expected second-quarter operating profit and lifted its forecasts for 2016.
Dutch insurer NN Group also climbed 5.6 percent after the company posted a drop in earnings that was not as bad as many analysts had feared, helping lift other financial stocks in the region.
Credit Suisse equity strategist Andrew Garthwaite backed staying “overweight” on stocks displaying the best growth characteristics, and tipped software group SAP and glasses maker Luxottica among others in this regard.
Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Geneva-based fund management and consultancy firm Prime Partners, was more cautious though.
Savary pointed to a recent rise in Portuguese bond yields as highlighting the persistently weak economic backdrop facing Europe.
“There is still a lot of uncertainty out there, and I would look to sell on the equity rally and for stock markets to consolidate in the coming weeks,” he said. (Editing by Keith Weir)