29 de enero de 2015 / 11:59 / en 3 años

European shares knocked as oil slide hits earnings

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.3 pct after bullish Fed

* Greek stocks rebound, banks edge up from record lows

* Vallourec warns of impairment, shares fall 5.5 pct (Recasts, adds quotes, detail)

By Alistair Smout and Blaise Robinson

LONDON/PARIS, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Weak corporate updates pegged back European shares on Thursday, as the effects of a recent rout in oil prices knocked back heavyweight energy firms.

Some traders said the Federal Reserve’s statement on Wednesday, signalling U.S. rate rises were still likely this year, was also crimping appetite for shares, although Greek banks rebounded from record lows hit earlier in the week.

Investors had been spooked by the new Greek government’s plan to challenge bailout terms, but Greece’s ATG index rose 3.6 percent, with Morgan Stanley saying there was value in the market after a 15 percent fall so far this week.

France’s Vallourec featured among the main losers, falling 5.5 percent after the steel pipes maker warned of an impairment charge of 1.0-1.2 billion euros on the value of its assets, blaming turmoil in the oil market.

Royal Dutch Shell also dropped 4.8 percent after the oil major said it will cut spending by $15 billion over the next three years.

Oil and gas stocks fell 2.8 percent, and are down 23 percent since June, with the price of a barrel of Brent crude falling nearly 60 percent in the same period.

“The fall in oil price has forced a very aggressive cutback to exploration and production, and that fall in capex is a GDP (gross domestic product) negative,” Jeremy Batstone-Carr, market analyst at Charles Stanley, said.

“However, oil majors should have the cash to pay healthy dividends for the time being. If the oil price remains at this level for longer than expected, then dividends could be impacted.”

At 1135 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.3 percent at 1,471.27 points, following losses on Wall Street overnight.

The Fed said the U.S. economy was expanding “at a solid pace” with strong job gains. It repeated it would be “patient” in deciding when to raise benchmark borrowing costs from zero and acknowledged a decline in certain inflation measures.

The statement took investors by surprise, sparking a sell-off on Wall Street with The Dow Jones industrial average falling 1.1 percent, the S&P 500 dropping 1.4 percent and the Nasdaq Composite losing 0.9 percent.

“The bullish tone by the Fed on the economy caught investors off guard,” said John Plassard, senior equity sales trader at Mirabaud Securities in Geneva.

Nokia dropped 4.6 percent despite reporting higher than expected profits at its core Networks business, hit by higher costs at its Technologies unit and the proposal of a smaller annual dividend than analysts expected.

Today’s European research round-up

Editing by Ruth Pitchford

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