August 1, 2017 / 7:43 AM / a year ago

Oil, financials get European shares off to firm start in August

LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early deals on Tuesday, looking to recover after two straight months of losses, with corporate earnings reports spurring brisk trading ahead of a typically sleepy period for markets over the summer.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index, nursing two straight months of losses, rose 0.1 percent. Blue chips were 0.3 percent higher.

Britain’s commodities-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent as oil stocks rose, while Germany’s DAX advanced 0.1 percent.

Earnings updates dominated the action, with oil heavyweight BP rising 2.5 percent and boosting the oil & gas sector after beating forecasts as new projects supported production.

British companies were the top gainers, with insurer Direct Line jumping 6.4 percent to a record high after reporting a rise in first half profit, while lender CYBG was boosted by a trading update.

Asset manager Man Group also climbed 4.8 percent after reporting a rise in assets in the first half.

Nearing the halfway mark in the European second-quarter earnings season and so far 60 percent of MSCI Europe firms have met or beaten analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Earning per share growth in Europe was tracking at about 13 percent, including a significant boost from energy firms, according to latest data from JPMorgan.

Mining firms were among the weaker performers on the day, however, with the sector down 0.5 percent as copper prices retreated, while tech firm ASM International was weighed down by a downgrade to “equal-weight” from Morgan Stanley. (Reporting by Kit Rees, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)

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