* RWE and E.ON both surge by more than 10 pct
* German utilities pass “stress test” on nuclear plan
* FTSEurofirst 300 and Euro STOXX flat
* Rolls Royce, Safran hit by reports of probe into sector
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - A surge in the shares of German utility stocks propped up European equities on Monday, enabling the region’s stock markets to remain near one-month highs.
Germany’s DAX outperformed to rise 0.7 percent, with utilities RWE and E.ON surging by 13 percent and 10 percent respectively.
The DAX outperformed a flat pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index , with the FTSEurofirst remaining near a one-month high reached on Friday.
Both RWE and E.ON rose after the German Economy Ministry said on Saturday that the operators of German nuclear power plants had set aside enough funds to pay for decommissioning the country’s reactors.
However, Rolls-Royce and Safran fell, with traders citing a negative impact on those shares from media reports over the weekend of a European regulatory probe into the airline maintenance market.
The DAX remains some 20 percent below a record high of 12,390.75 points reached in April, hit by signs of a slowdown in China - the world’s second biggest economy - and some weak German data.
However, Hampstead Capital hedge fund manager Lex Van Dam said the DAX now looked in better shape.
“Finally some good news out of Germany, with the utilities RWE and E.On leading the way. I am quite constructive on the market,” he said.
Biotechnology group Novozymes fell 3.6 percent after Goldman Sachs downgraded its shares to “sell” from “buy”, but carmaker Fiat rose 1.7 percent after Fiat disclosed the price range for the initial public offering of its Ferrari unit that could value Ferrari at close to $10 billion.
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Ruth Pitchford)