* Credit Agricole up after results and plans to change structure
* Glencore gains after refinancing debt
* RWE slumps after dividend scrapped for first time in 23 years
* FTSEurofirst rises but remains down since start of 2016 (Adds details, updates prices)
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - European stock markets resumed their recovery on Wednesday, boosted by a rise in the shares of French bank Credit Agricole and miner Glencore .
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 1.7 percent by 1127 GMT, and the euro zone’s blue-chip index Eurostoxx 50 index added 1.8 percent.
The FTSEurofirst slipped 0.4 percent the previous day and remains down around 10 percent since the start of 2016 due to persistent concerns about a global economic slowdown and weak commodity prices. But the index has staged a recovery recently, rising 6 percent in the two sessions before Tuesday’s slight drop, partly on a recovery in banking shares.
“Overall sentiment is neutral to positive, with the momentum clearly pointing to the upside,” said City of London Markets Limited trader Markus Huber.
Credit Agricole was among the strongest performers, rising 11.9 percent after it beat expectations with its results. The French bank also promised stable investor returns and a solid capital base in the future as it outlined plans to simplify its much-criticised ownership structure.
“Overall it’s been a good quarter for them. It looks like they have enough capital and the new ownership structure should be clearer and less convoluted than before,” said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu, who added that he had recently bought into the euro zone banking index.
British miner Glencore climbed 9.4 percent after announcing the refinancing of its debt, while Schneider Electric surged 9 percent after reporting higher revenues and earnings.
Shares in Swedish heating technology company Nibe Industrier jumped 13 percent higher after its results beat market expectations.
However, shares in RWE fell 13.5 percent after scrapping the dividend on its common stock for the first time in at least 23 years, as Germany’s second biggest utility struggles to hold on to cash following major writedowns.
“Scrapping the dividend is a devastating signal, you couldn’t send a worse one,” a trader said.
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 52 percent of the companies on the European STOXX 600 index have met or beaten market expectations with their fourth-quarter results so far, while 48 percent have missed those expectations.
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni in Milan and by Alistair Smout and Atul Prakash in London; Editing by Jon Boyle)