* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.5 pct, FTSE 100 up 0.6 pct
* Shares in Nutreco fall 5 pct as Cargill drops takeover bid
* Energy shares remain under pressure as Brent hovers around $60
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Dec 23 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early trading on Tuesday, gaining ground for the sixth session in a row and tracking a rally on Wall Street where both the Dow and S&P 500 ended at record highs.
Shares in Dutch animal feed company Nutreco bucked the trend, falling 5 percent after U.S. commodities company Cargill said it was dropping its takeover bid.
At 0837 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.5 percent at 1,373.62 points in low volumes. The benchmark index is up 4.3 percent so far in 2014, lagging a 12.5 percent rally on Wall Street’s S&P.
Around Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.6 percent, Germany’s DAX index up 0.3 percent and France’s CAC 40 up 0.5 percent.
“Most investors have closed their books for the year. There’s not a lot of volume, and indexes are mostly in a neutral zone for now,” said Jean-Louis Cussac, head of Paris-based firm Perceval Finance.
Recently-hammered oil and gas shares were mixed, with oil prices edging up on expectation of firm U.S. economic data later in the day. Trading was light, however, ahead of Christmas and the New Year.
Shares in ENI were down 0.7 percent while Statoil was up 0.4 percent.
The MSCI World energy sector index has tumbled 30 percent since June, wiping out about $1 trillion off the market value of oil and gas shares, roughly the size of the combined annual GDP of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream shows.
The slump in crude oil prices, down by nearly half in six months, has also pummelled the bonds of energy companies and sent shockwaves through the high-yield credit market.
Late on Monday, credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s cut to negative its outlook for Total, BP and Royal Dutch Shell, citing a “dramatic deterioration in the oil price outlook”.
But many see weakening oil prices as positive in the medium term for economic growth and corporate earnings. Analysts have said they will leave consumers with more disposable income, and keep downward pressure on inflation, making an early rate move by the U.S. Federal Reserve much less likely.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
editing by John Stonestreet