* European shares rise as Chinese exports resurge
* Pan-European FTSEurofirst index rises 2.6 percent
* Mining stocks outperform, topping sectoral gainers
* Italy banks help sector index to best day in 4 years (ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). Adds details, closing prices)
By Danilo Masoni and Sudip Kar-Gupta
MILAN/LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Wednesday to a two-week high as a rise in Chinese exports buoyed global stock markets, with mining stocks and banks among the best performers.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended the session up 2.6 percent at 1,349.35 points, its highest closing level since March 14, while the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index advanced 3.3 percent.
The FTSEurofirst remains down around 6 percent so far in 2016, due partly to concerns about a China-led slowdown in the global economy.
However, data on Wednesday showed that China’s exports in March returned to growth for the first time in nine months, adding to signs of stabilisation in the world’s second-largest economy.
The latest update from China also lifted mining stocks, given China’s role as the world’s biggest consumer of metals, with Anglo American rising 11 percent and BHP Billiton more than 9 percent.
But Cassa Lombarda economist Marco Vailati said that while the headline Chinese figure was strong it was also distorted by calendar effects, warning that the positive impact on sentiment might be short-lived.
“Investors may be rushing to cover short positions with volatile markets creating profit opportunities, such as in the case of Italian banks which have gone through wild price swings,” he added.
Italy’s bank stocks index rose 8.6 percent, recovering from a sell-off on Tuesday, after Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said there was no risk that European authorities will block the fund set up to help buy shares in upcoming stock issues at distressed lenders and purchase soured loans.
Investors appeared to be looking at the positives of the state-orchestrated initiative after being spooked in the previous session by a lack of details about it and concerns the fund might not be enough to avoid another banking crisis.
Vailati said creating the fund was a first step in the right direction but noted that the key for a re-rating of Italian banks will be measures to shorten the time needed to recoup soured loans, which are currently weighing on their finances.
The surge in Italian banks helped Europe’s bank index rise 6.3 percent, its biggest one-day gain in more than four years. Italy’s UniCredit rose 10.6 percent and Germany’s Deutsche Bank jumped 9.9 percent, with sentiment in the sector helped by JP Morgan reporting a quarterly profit that topped low market expectations.
Greece’s benchmark index ATG fell 0.8 percent, down for a third straight day, amid further signs that Athens was making little progress on securing the money it needs from creditors to pay upcoming bills.
Shares in Swedish medical technology company Elekta surged 7.2 percent after investors welcomed the appointment of Richard Hausmann as its new chief executive.
However, Premier Foods shares slumped 26.8 percent after U.S spice maker McCormick Foods walked away from a bid for Premier Foods.
Tesco shares fell 7.8 percent after a cautious outlook statement took some of the shine off its first quarterly sales growth in three years.
Today’s European research round-up
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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Editing by Mark Heinrich)