European shares steady; autos rally on U.S. sales boost

martes 6 de enero de 2015 08:52 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 steadies after Monday's drop

* Auto stocks rally as cheaper fuel boosts U.S. car sales

* Athens market closed on Tuesday but Greece still a concern

By Francesco Canepa and Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - A rally in auto stocks helped European shares steady on Tuesday, as uncertainty about Greece's future in the euro zone and worries about the implications of sliding oil prices dented broader market sentiment.

Strong December industry sales data from the United States boosted car makers with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the most exposed Europe-listed manufacturer, up 2 percent.

The STOXX Europe 600 Auto & parts index rose 1 percent, the best performing sector in Europe.

Auto sales are an early indicator each month of consumer spending, which is deemed to have benefited from falls in oil prices to a succession of 5-1/2-year lows.

While lower energy prices are widely seen as beneficial for European companies and consumers, they pile pressure on the finances of oil-producing countries such as Russia, raising the prospect of financial instability in emerging markets and hefty losses for investors in those regions.   Continuación...