European shares rebound after Putin comments, Italy outperforms
* FTSEurofirst 300 rises 1 pct after early losses
* Putin's comments on Crimea trigger relief rally
* Italy's FTSE MIB share index outperforms
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) - European shares changed course to climb higher late on Tuesday after comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin eased fears that tensions over Ukraine will escalate.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 1 percent at 1,309.80 points by 1420 GMT, recovering from an earlier session low of 1,290.28.
Putin, defying Ukrainian protests and Western sanctions, signed a treaty on Tuesday making Crimea part of Russia but said he did not plan to seize any other regions of Ukraine.
That raised expectations the market will resume its recent rally after tumbling on the geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and concerns about a slowdown in China. The European benchmark fell more than 5 percent in about one week from a near 5-1/2-year high earlier this month and is still down about 1 percent this year after surging 16 percent in 2013.
"The market has been rightly very worried that Putin's next move was some of the other eastern provinces of Ukraine," Macquarie strategist Daniel McCormack said. "If he is watering down expectations in that regard, that's obviously positive." Continuación...