* FTSEurofirst 300 flat after late recovery
* Posts 2nd weekly gain
* STOXX Europe energy sector index falls 3.5 pct
* Drop in oil prices seen weighing on euro zone inflation
* Shares in airlines surge; Air France up 6.4 pct
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - European shares posted their second consecutive weekly gain after a late recovery on Friday, as heavy falls in energy stocks, hit by a slump in oil prices, were offset by gains in airlines and consumer companies.
Oil companies such as Statoil and Galp Energia and explorer Premier Oil fell by between 5.8 percent and 13.4 percent, after Brent slipped below $72 following OPEC’s decision on Thursday not to cut output. Investors said the move would leave oil markets heavily oversupplied.
The European oil and gas sector fell 3.5 percent. It has now lost $240 billion in market value since late June, more than the entire market value of Shell, Europe’s biggest oil major, Thomson Reuters data shows.
“At $72 a barrel, we’re well below the pain threshold for many companies in the sector,” said IG France’s chief market analyst, Alexandre Baradez. “However, it’s pretty good news for the energy-hungry sectors such as airlines.”
The prospect of lower fuel prices boosted airlines and companies which depend on consumer spending. Shares in Air France surged 6.4 percent while consumer goods group Henkel rose 2 percent.
“The drop in oil price was the best thing that could have happened at this stage because it increases consumers’ spending power and ... the price of production of almost all goods falls,” said Luca Paolini, chief strategist at Pictet.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed flat at 1,392.70 points after trading as low as 1,384.58 in early trade. The index managed a 0.6 percent rise for the week.
Germany’s Dax closed 0.1 percent higher, rising for a 12th straight session.
Mergers and acquisitions speculation animated the telecoms sector after Reuters reported late on Thursday Hutchison Whampoa , the owner of Britain’s fourth largest mobile operator 3 Group, is preparing a bid for Telefonica’s O2 or EE, which is owned by Orange and Deutsche Telekom .
Swedish Match’s shares rose 5.1 percent after Bloomberg reported it was in talks with private-equity firms about a possible sale of Scandinavian Tobacco Group. (Editing by Alison Williams)