* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.2 pct after bullish Fed
* Greek stocks rebound, banks edge up from record lows
* Vallourec warns of impairment, shares fall
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 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.
Royal Dutch Shell dropped 4.4 percent after the oil major said it will cut spending by $15 billion over the next three years.
Oil and gas stocks fell 2.9 percent, and are down over 20 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.”
France’s Vallourec dropped 4.7 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.
At 1503 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.2 percent at 1,471.98 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, causing a sell-off on Wall Street.
Airbus extended losses, down 2.1 percent and the top faller on France’s CAC after telling staff in a letter that its A400M programme is in a “critical” situation and will be kept under close review.
However, markets were supported by a rebound in Greek stocks.
Investors had been spooked by the new government’s plan to challenge bailout terms, but Greece’s ATG index rose 3.1 percent, with Morgan Stanley saying there was value in the market after a 15 percent fall so far this week.
On Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reiterated his intention to find a mutually beneficial solution with international lenders.
“You want to keep some banking exposure to Greece because in the event that the worst case scenario doesn’t materialise, the banks are going to be the most sensitive to that, they will react very positively and we will see an almighty bounce,” Colin Croft, manager of the Jupiter Emerging European Opportunities Fund, said.
“You can see a taste of what that might look like today with most of the banks showing double digit gains.”
Today’s European research round-up
Additional reporting by Sinead Cruise; Editing by Janet Lawrence