August 3, 2018 / 7:35 AM / 9 months ago

Strong bank earnings and tech gains help European shares recover

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LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Strong bank stocks helped boost European markets on Friday after a tumultuous week as investors drew encouragement from forecast-beating results and a rally on Wall Street overnight.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index climbed 0.2 percent in early trading, recovering from its worst day in three weeks as stocks worldwide sold off on fears of higher U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports.

Financials were the top driver of index gains after France’s Credit Agricole and Britain’s RBS added to a slew of positive results from European lenders.

Credit Agricole reported second-quarter profits ahead of estimates, sending its shares up 2.1 percent, while peer Natixis also gained 2 percent after its second-quarter profits rose.

Shares in RBS climbed 2.9 percent after the recovering state-owned bank announced its first dividend in a decade.

London-listed South African packaging group Mondi rose 6 percent to the top of the STOXX after it reported profits up by 25 percent in the first half thanks to higher selling prices and good demand.

Among fallers, shares in bookmaker William Hill tumbled 5.6 percent, against traders’ expectations, after the firm reported UK retail profits fell.

Heineken shares rose 1.4 percent after the firm sealed a $3.1 billion tie-up with the owner of China’s largest brewer, China Resources Beer, to take a 40 percent stake in the company.

Apple’s ascension to a trillion-dollar valuation, which helped drive a rally on Wall Street, boosted Europe’s tech sector up 0.5 percent too. (Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Kit Rees)

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