16 de febrero de 2016 / 11:40 / en 2 años

European shares edge lower as bank stocks fall; oils off highs

* FTSEurofirst 300 edges lower after 2 positive sessions

* Shares of oil companies come off highs after oil deal

* Banks under pressure as JP Morgan suggest not to buy

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Danilo Masoni

LONDON/MILAN, Feb 16 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on Tuesday, with banking stocks again under pressure after a short rebound, while oil companies came off earlier highs on disappointment over a deal to tackle a global supply glut.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.3 percent, reversing initial gains and following a 6 percent rise made over the last two sessions. Euro zone’s blue-chip index Eurostoxx 50 index fell 0.25 percent.

Top oil exporters Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed on Tuesday to freeze output levels. But they said the deal was contingent on other producers joining in - a major sticking point with Iran absent from the talks and determined to raise production.

“This agreement needs the nod from other OPEC and non OPEC nations, which seems unlikely,” said Stephane Ekolo, Chief European Strategist at Market Securities. “Therefore market participants turned again cautious and risk-off sentiment is back on again,” he added.

The decision comes after more than 18 months of declining oil prices that has knocked two-thirds off benchmark crude futures. Those prices had fallen on concerns about oversupply and a slowing global economy.

Shares in oil stocks came off highs but most remained in positive territory. BP and Total advanced 2.2 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, while Eni fell 0.7 percent.

Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Geneva-based Prime Partners, said he believed oil prices will rise further down the road, adding that his stocks in the sector were Total and Exxon, while BP is also interesting.

Banks were among the heaviest fallers led by Standard Chartered, which fell 7.5 percent after several brokerages cut their target prices following a recent rally. Elsewhere in the sector Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank both fell more than 4 percent.

JP Morgan analysts said they would not buy into the European banking sector given pressures on banks’ profitability from negative interest rates and weak financial markets.

The FTSEurofirst remains down by 11 percent since the start of 2016, because of worries over a global economic slowdown and the health of Europe’s banking sector.

Shares in Vodafone slipped 0.2 percent after the British phone network operator agreed to combine operations in the Netherlands with Liberty Global, with Vodafone paying 1 billion euros in cash to Liberty.

Shares in Orange added 0.3 percent after the French telecoms group returned to core profit growth a year earlier than planned, while Telecom Italia fell 3.4 percent after its quarterly core profit missed expectations.

Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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