* STOXX 600 ends slightly higher
* Barclays rises on Exane upgrade, boosts banking sector
* PostNL surges after Q2 results
* Meggit rises after investor takes stake (ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)
By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Alistair Smout
LONDON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - European stock markets rose on Monday, propped up by gains in the shares of major banks and other financial stocks, while Dutch firm PostNL surged after results.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index edged up 0.04 percent, with Germany’s DAX, Britain’s FTSE and France’s CAC all 0.1-0.6 percent higher.
The STOXX Europe 600 Bank index advanced 1.4 percent, helped by a 3.6 percent rise at Barclays after Exane BNP Paribas upgraded Barclays to “outperform” from “neutral”.
Insurers also rose, up 1.5 percent, while basic resources stocks were up 1.7 percent as miners rallied on stronger copper and iron ore prices.
Shares in Dutch postal service operator PostNL surged 8.2 percent after the company confirming its full-year outlook, while analysts also welcomed a surprise improvement in its equity position.
According to data from Thomson Reuters StarMine, 61 percent of companies on the STOXX 600 index have beaten or met forecasts with their second quarter results so far, although those earnings are down 15 percent from last year on average.
“There’s plenty of confidence over in the States, and that’s been helping Europe, but I’d still be on the defensive side concerning European markets and I’d be looking to sell rallies,” said Berkeley Futures’ associate director Richard Griffiths.
“There’s still much macroeconomic uncertainty in Europe.”
Defence equipment maker Meggitt rose 8.8 percent after activist investment firm Elliot Capital Advisors took a stake of over 5 percent in the firm.
Traders also said stocks were being supported by a rally on U.S. markets, with the S&P 500 starting the week with a new record high after strong jobs data on Friday.
While the STOXX 600 has recovered much of the ground lost in the immediate aftermath of Britain’s vote in June to quit the European Union, the index remains down by 6 percent so far in 2016.
Andreas Clenow, chief investment officer at ACIES Asset Management in Zurich, echoed Griffiths’ view of preferring U.S. to European shares at present.
“The U.S. markets look pretty healthy. We keep making record highs in the U.S. but the European stock markets look much more sluggish,” said Clenow.
Additional reporting by Wout Vergauwen; Editing by Janet Lawrence