European shares halt sell-off; Portugal in focus

lunes 4 de agosto de 2014 04:25 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up flat, halting last week's 3 pct drop

* Portuguese stocks bounce back, but still in bear market

* Shares in Banco Espirito Santo still suspended

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, Aug 4 (Reuters) - European stocks were steady in early trade on Monday, halting last week's sharp sell-off, as a rescue deal for troubled Banco Espirito Santo helped ease fears over the fate of Portugal's biggest lender.

Following a frenzied weekend of discussions between Portuguese and European Union officials, Portugal agreed to spend 4.9 billion euros ($6.58 billion) to rescue Banco Espirito Santo, or BES, its largest listed bank. The deal comes just months after the country exited an international bailout.

While BES shares - which plunged 73 percent last week - were still suspended, shares in Portugal's second-largest listed bank Millennium bcp rose 6.1 percent and Portugal Telecom added 3.8 percent.

Portugal's PSI 20 benchmark was up 1 percent, bouncing back following recent sharp losses. The index last week slipped into bear market territory, down about 25 percent since early April.

Portuguese 10-year yields dipped 1.4 basis points to 3.71 percent with the problems around BES seen contained for now.   Continuación...