* Pan-European index up 1.2 percent
* Higher commodity prices help mining, oil stocks
* Italian bank UniCredit lifted by asset sale talk
* Cartier owner Richemont underperforms after update (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, updates prices)
By Danilo Masoni
MILAN, May 20 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Friday, helped by gains in Asia overnight and stronger oil prices. UniCredit led the gainers on talk of possible asset sales.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 1.2 percent by 0749 GMT after falling on Thursday amid concern the Federal Reserve will raise U.S. interest rates as early as next month.
UniCredit rose 3.9 percent after on reports that it may sell some holdings to improve its capital base. A source with knowledge of the matter said UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank by assets, was assessing the sale of stakes in FinecoBank, Turkey’s Yapi Kredi and Poland’s Bank Pekao.
“The sale of further stakes in quality units could have an immediate positive effect on capital but would weigh on profitability over the medium and longer terms,” ICBPI analyst Luca Comi said in a note.
Mining shares rose 1.9 percent to lead gains among sectors, after copper prices got some support from signs China’s housing market was improving. Anglo American and Glencore led the advance with gains of 3.7 and 2.7 percent respectively.
Oil stocks gained 1.6 percent. Crude oil prices rose as turmoil in Nigeria, shale bankruptcies in the United States and a crisis in Venezuela all contributed to tightening supplies .
Coca Cola rosed 4.4 percent after an upgrade to “buy” from Citigroup
But Richemont fell 0.3 percent after the Cartier owner predicted no improvement in the trading environment. Its April sales dropped 15 percent, hit by weak demand for watches in Hong Kong and Europe. Shares of watchmaker Swatch fell around 1 percent.
Fiat Chrysler lost 2.4 percent, after the German transport minister criticised the Italian-American carmaker for not showing up at a meeting on Thursday to discuss emissions irregularities of its diesel vehicles.
Today’s European research round-up
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). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist. Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.
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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA.
Reporting by Danilo Masoni, editing by Larry King