* Gemalto surges after results
* Firmer metals prices boost mining stocks
* Carige leads Italian banks lower (Adds details, updates prices)
By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Danilo Masoni
LONDON/MILAN, March 4 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Friday as chipmaker Gemalto reported solid results and mining stocks advanced.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had risen in five of the last six sessions, edged up 0.2 percent by 1130 GMT. The euro zone’s Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.5 percent.
European stocks have rallied after a rocky start to 2016, as oil prices recovered and fears over a U.S. economic slowdown abated. Nevertheless, the FTSEurofirst remains down around 7 percent since the start of the year.
“The recession fears were overdone. The market panicked in January and went into risk-off mode too quickly. I was buying back in January and February, although I‘m not adding any more for now,” said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu.
Gemalto rose by more than 9 percent after it reported a rise in annual profits. Mining stocks such as Glencore and Antofagasta advanced, helped by a rally in the prices of major industrial metals.
Shares in Oslo-listed Seadrill jumped 20 percent, scoring its seventh straight day of gains, which analysts linked to firmer oil prices.
Carnegie analyst Johan Stroem said a move by U.S.-listed British rival Noble Corp to buy back bonds also helped shares in Seadrill, which has said it will present a refinancing plan in the first half to address its $10 billion of debt.
Auto stocks were also up for the seventh straight sessions, as low valuations after a recent sell-off attracted some investors.
Banca Carige fell 10 percent after the European Central Bank asked the lender to draw up a new business plan, putting pressure on all Italian banks. Monte Paschi and UniCredit both fell more than 3 percent.
Many traders were focusing on U.S. employment data due at 1330 GMT.
U.S. employers probably stepped up hiring in February, a sign of labour market strength that could further ease fears the economy is heading into recession and allow the Federal Reserve to gradually raise interest rates this year.
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Ole Petter in Oslo; Editing by Larry King)