* STOXX 600 gains after two days of losses
* Clinton seen to have won presidential debate
* Carnival leads market up after target price hike
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Sept 27 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Tuesday as Democrat Hillary Clinton was perceived by financial market participants to be the winner of the first U.S. presidential debate, although equities traded off day’s highs as energy and banking shares lost ground.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.14 percent at 340.52 points by 0829 GMT, after hitting an intra-day high of 342.21 points following the U.S. debate.
A CNN poll of viewers showed 62 percent thought Clinton won the debate on Monday, with 27 percent for Trump. Many investors appear to see Clinton as the preferred candidate, while few are sure what a Trump presidency might mean for international trade or the domestic economy.
“There is some relief that ... Clinton seems to have done well during the first debate with Republican candidate Trump,” Markus Huber, trader at City of London Markets, said.
“At this stage markets seem to clearly favour Clinton simply because under her leading the country very little is likely to change which might not necessarily be good for the country but as it is well known markets love certainty.”
However, the market lost some ground after the European Oil and Gas index fell 0.6 percent, the worst sector performer, as prices of crude oil dropped following a rally of more than 3 percent in the previous session.
Euro zone banks also erased gains to trade flat. Deutsche Bank hit a new record low after tumbling more than 7 percent in the previous session when a German magazine said Chancellor Angela Merkel had ruled out state assistance for the bank.
Among the big movers, Carnival, the world’s largest cruise operator, rose 3 percent. The stock was the top gainer in the STOXX Europe 600 index as Natixis raised its target price for the stock to 4200 pence from 4100 pence.
French telecom company Orange rose more than 2.5 percent after Credit Suisse upgraded its rating on the stock to “outperform” from “neutral” and raised its price target by 10 percent.
However, broker comments hurt travel and insurance firm SAGA . Its shares were down 3.9 percent after Canaccord Genuity cut its stance on the stock to “hold” from “buy”.
Heating and plumbing products supplier Wolseley fell around 4 percent as tough market conditions forced it to close 80 UK branches and a distribution centre. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Janet Lawrence)