European stock markets advance as shares in banks and retailers rise
* STOXX 600 index closes up 0.3 percent
* STOXX 600 still down 6 pct in 2016
* Edenred gains after strategic plan (Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - European stocks rose on Wednesday as gains in the shares of major banks and retail companies offset weaker earnings elsewhere in the market.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3 percent, although the index remains down by about 6 percent since the start of 2016.
The European bank index got a lift to stand 0.9 percent higher after Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley reported better-than-forecast profits on Wednesday.
"Morgan Stanley's results have generally been a positive for the banking sector across the board," said Hantec Markets' analyst Richard Perry.
Nevertheless, the European bank index is still down by about 20 percent since the start of the year due to concerns over bad debts at Italian banks, while Deutsche Bank also hit record lows last month. Continuación...