* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, euro bank index up 1.2 pct
* Expectation of QE programme by ECB boosts banks
* Allianz GI CIO sees volatility, favours dividend stocks
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Nov 25 (Reuters) - European stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday as euro zone banking shares climbed on mounting expectation of more stimulus from the European Central Bank.
The rise in financials was partly offset by losses in resource-related shares, hurt by a recent slump in crude oil and metal prices. BHP Billiton lost 1.7 percent, BP fell 1.1 percent and Total dipped 1.6 percent.
Crude prices fell again on Tuesday, down by more than $1 a barrel to near four-year lows, after a meeting between Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and major non-OPEC oil exporters ended with no deal on curbing output before Thursday’s summit of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 0.2 percent higher at 1,388.87 points, after rising as far as 1,395.34 earlier in the session, a level not seen since Sept. 22.
The benchmark index has surged nearly 15 percent from a low hit in mid-October, bolstered by the prospect of further ECB easing as well as recent policy measures in Japan and China.
Shares in Deutsche Bank, ING and BNP Paribas rose 1.4-1.9 percent on Tuesday, making them the top three risers among European blue chips.
“Recent strong comments by (ECB President Mario) Draghi seem to be paving the way for the bank to start buying sovereign or corporate bonds,” said IG France’s chief market analyst, Alexandre Baradez.
“There is very little chance of seeing the ECB back-tracking as long as inflation doesn’t start to pick up, which will support stock indexes in the medium term.”
Around Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 index ended 0.02 percent higher, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.8 percent and France’s CAC 40 added 0.3 percent.
Shares in E.ON gained 3.1 percent after sources said late on Monday that its Italian assets had drawn interest from a handful of energy companies and investment funds on the final day for a binding bid.
Shares in Spain’s Telefonica rose 0.8 percent and BT added 0.4 percent after a report said BT could offer at least 6 billion euros ($7.5 billion) to the Spanish company for the O2 mobile network, on top of a 20 percent stake in BT’s share capital.
Despite the recent rally in equities, Allianz Global Investors’ CIO, Andreas Utermann, remains cautious on the outlook for risky assets.
“The lack of economic growth and the return of volatility is prompting us to be more pro-active in buying and selling assets to capture the big moves in prices,” he said.
“We still favour the dividend theme in Europe. Stocks pay a hefty 3.5 percent yield on average, that’s much higher than in the fixed income market.”
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
Editing by Susan Fenton/Ruth Pitchford