July 13, 2017 / 8:54 AM / in 5 months

Casino jumps, miners provide support as European shares pause for breath

* STOXX 600 up 0.4 pct

* Casino leads retailers higher after strong Q2

* Daimler bottom of DAX after excess emissions accusation

* Umicore jumps after add to ABN’s ‘conviction list’

* Astrazeneca dips on report of CEO move (ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

By Helen Reid

LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) - European shares inched higher on Thursday, with investors less keen to chase the previous session’s strong rally that came on the back of the relatively dovish tone struck by Fed chair Janet Yellen overnight.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.4 percent, slightly ahead of euro zone stocks and blue-chips , with rate-sensitive real estate stocks, which were top gainers on Wednesday, tracking more modest gains.

On Wednesday, the European benchmark posted its best day since Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the first round of French presidential elections, as banks and yield plays rallied.

“With stocks having come off in the last few weeks, maybe investors were thinking now is the time to take the opportunity of that pullback and add some more,” said Mike Bell, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.

“Yellen’s speech was a catalyst for that.”

Cyclicals were back to the fore on Thursday, however, with banks, which gain from higher rates, up 0.6 percent. Continued strength among miners, up 1.5 percent and near a three-month high, supported the index.

“Our view remains that government bond yields will move higher, and that leaves us still favouring the less rate-sensitive parts of the stock market, cyclicals, while we’re more cautious on defensives,” Bell added.

Earnings began trickling in from a string of French companies.

Supermarket Casino jumped 4.6 percent, bolstering gains among retailers, after its second-quarter sales growth accelerated, helped by a brightening domestic picture and a resilient performance in Brazil despite the recession there.

“The beat is likely helped by good weather annualizing against a period of poor weather and strikes,” said Bernstein retail analyst Bruno Monteyne.

“What’s not clear at this stage is whether, like Carrefour, the sales beat at Casino will have come at the cost of higher promotions and price cuts,” he added.

Shares in French industrial group Alstom, in which the French state has a 20 percent stake, rose 2.9 percent after it reported sales improved from a year ago, and maintained financial targets.

Umicore jumped 4 percent higher after a top-ranked analyst at ABN Amro added the Belgian chemicals group to their ‘conviction list’, citing capacity increases in the company’s battery business, as growth prospects for the electric car industry improve.

Souring sentiment somewhat, shares in Mercedes maker Daimler fell 1.5 percent to the bottom of the DAX after a report accusing the carmaker of selling cars with excess emissions.

Drugmaker Astrazeneca was the worst European performer after a report Chief Executive Pascal Soriot was to be named CEO of Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries . (Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Vikram Subhedar and Catherine Evans)

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