Real estate stocks push European shares higher

* FTSEurofirst 300 index rises 0.1 percent

* Capital Shopping Centres jumps on bid interest

* Banks slip on euro zone peripheral concerns

* For up-to-the minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Joanne Frearson

LONDON, Nov 25 (Reuters) - European shares edged higher on Thursday, with a rise in Capital Shopping Centres CSCG.L on bid interest boosting real estate stocks, although investors avoided strong bets as the U.S. was closed for Thanksgiving.

Real estate shares were in demand, with British property investor Capital Shopping Centres CSCG.L jumping 10.1 percent on bid interest from U.S. mall-owner Simon Group SPG.N. [ID:nLDE6AO063]

By 1330 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares was 0.04 percent higher at 1,088.19 points, but trading was thin, due to the U.S. markets, closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday. "The most important thing for the equity market is the ability to believe that the economic cycle is staying in tact," Philip Isherwood, European equities strategist at Evolution Securities, said. "That means not just U.S. data reassuring, but also European."

“The problem is we are not going to get anything from the U.S. today, while there are expectations that signs of health are emerging in the U.S. consumer, there is nothing to confirm or deny this today.”

Meanwhile, fears of contagion from Ireland's debt crisis knocked the euro zone peripheral countries, with the Thomson Reuters Peripheral Eurozone Countries Index .TRXFLDPIPU down 0.9 percent.

Irish voters headed to the polls in the northwestern county of Donegal on Thursday and a loss raises the risk that the 2011 budget, the first step in the four-year plan, may not make it through parliament on Dec. 7.

“The debt crisis has to be resolved fast otherwise confidence is going to slip. At that point no economic data will help and we will have a serious correction,” Koen De Leus, strategist at KBC Securities said.

The risk adverse banking sector which were sensitive to changes in the economic environment fell. UniCredit CRDI.MI, Societe Generale SOGN.PA and Banco Santander SAN.MC were 0.8 to 1.4 percent lower.

Deutsche Postbank DPBGn.DE was down 3.5 percent also knocked by an Equinet downgrade to "sell" from "hold".


Miners continued their rise from the previous session to feature among the best performers following falls earlier in the week.

Anglo American AAL.L, BHP Billiton BLT.L, Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation ENRC.L, Rio Tinto RIO.L and Xstrata XTA.L gained 0.9 to 1.8 percent.

German steelmakers ThyssenKrupp TKAG.DE and Kloeckner KCOGn.DE gained 2.5 percent and 4.4 percent respectively after broker notes said European market conditions were improving.

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 .FTSE index was 0.2 percent higher, Germany's DAX .GDAXI gained 0.2 percent and France's CAC 40 .FCHI was down 0.02 percent. (Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; editing by Jonathan Gleave)