* FTSEurofirst 300 up 1 pct, recoups last week’s fall
* Lufthansa says profit to rise on lower oil prices
* Continental eyes sales growth pick-up
By Francesco Canepa and Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - European equities rebounded on Monday, led by airlines and auto stocks after positive updates by Continental and Lufthansa.
German airline Lufthansa rose 2.5 percent in brisk volume after saying it expects the lower price of oil to cut its fuel bill for 2015 by 13 percent after the cost of hedging, setting it on course for a rise in profit this year.
Brent crude dropped below $49 a barrel on Monday, around its lowest since April 2009, hit by a global supply glut. Lufthansa assumes a price of $68 for Brent in 2015.
“The tremendous oil price collapse is not adequately reflected in the airlines’ share prices in my view,” said Jochen Rothenbacher, research and sales director at Equinet Bank in Frankfurt.
“Historically, oil price collapses coincided with a weakening economy. This time it’s different and the market has to learn that.”
German automotive supplier Continental rose 2.3 percent after saying it expects sales growth to quicken to around 5 percent this year and to maintain a double-digit operating profit margin as global passenger car production rises moderately.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 1 percent to 1,361.64 points at 1105 GMT, recouping most of its 1.1 percent drop last week.
Investors are on tenterhooks ahead of a European Central Bank policy meeting and a parliamentary election in Greece next week.
“Expect volatility to remain for the European stock markets in the near-term,” said Hampstead Capital LLP hedge fund manager Lex van Dam.
Among other movers, Banco Santander rose 2.3 percent as El Mundo reported funds owned by U.S. financier George Soros have acquired 500 million euros of Santander after the bank’s share issue last week. Santander’s shares had fallen 14 percent on Friday.
Swiss healthcare group Roche rose 2 percent after it acquired a majority stake in the molecular and genomic analysis company Foundation Medicine Inc for as much as $1.18 billion.
Sanofi also climbed 2 percent after the European Medicines Agency agreed to review an application by Sanofi and Regeneron for their cholesterol-lowering drug, alirocumab.
Chemicals shares performed well after U.S. investment bank Citigroup upgraded several European chemicals companies, including BASF, up 1.7 percent.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Gareth Jones)