European shares steady as oil companies rise
* FTSEurofirst 300 steady after 6 pct rise in last 2 sessions
* Shares of oil companies among best performers
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - European stock markets were steady on Tuesday, kept afloat by stronger energy stocks which rose as oil prices climbed on the possibility of output cuts.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.2 percent, building on a 6 percent rise made over the last two sessions.
The shares of oil companies were among the best performers in Europe.
BP rose 2.9 percent while Total advanced 2.2 percent, as a meeting of the oil ministers of Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela heightened speculation of output cuts.
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela agreed to freeze their oil output at January levels providing other major producers follow suit, Qatar's energy minister said on Tuesday after a meeting of those countries' energy ministers.
The closed-door meeting, which started in Doha, comes after more than 18 months of declining oil prices that has knocked two thirds off benchmark crude futures. Those prices had fallen on concerns about oversupply and a slowing global economy. Continuación...