* Roche boosted by trial success with cancer drug
* Banks led lower by Spain’s Banco Popular, oils down
* Investors cautious before Yellen speech (ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report for more details) Adds details, prices)
By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Danilo Masoni
LONDON/MILAN, May 27 (Reuters) - European shares were steady on Friday, propped up by the Swiss stock market and pharmaceuticals companies after drugmaker Roche climbed on positive results for one of its products.
The pan-European STOXX 600 and FTSEurofirst 300 equity indexes both edged up by 0.1 percent, hovering around their highest levels in a month.
Zurich’s benchmark SMI market outperformed to rise by 0.7 percent, helped by a 3.8 percent gain at Roche which was the best-performing European blue-chip stock.
Roche got a big boost when a clinical trial testing its new blood cancer drug Gazyva proved successful, lifting prospects for a new medicine that will be pivotal as the Swiss company fights the threat of biosimilar competition.
Roche also lifted up peers such as Novartis and Sanofi.
“Switzerland’s SMI is outperforming today, mainly thanks to Roche, after the company published the positive data this morning on an important product with multi-billion sales potential,” said Jerome Schupp, financial analyst at Swiss bank and fund management firm SYZ.
However, bank stocks and energy stocks both fell, with shares in oil majors losing ground after Brent crude oil prices dipped back below the $50-per-barrel level.
Banks were impacted as Spain’s Banco Popular fell to a record low, a day after slumping 26 percent after announcing a capital increase.
“Popular’s capital raise may put further pressure on Spanish banks to take additional provisions,” said Berenberg analyst Andrew Lowe.
Today’s European research round-up
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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Editing by Tom Heneghan)