Casino jumps, miners provide support as European shares pause for breath

* STOXX 600 up 0.4 pct

* Casino leads retailers higher after strong Q2

* Daimler bottom of DAX after excess emissions accusation

* Umicore jumps after add to ABN’s ‘conviction list’

* Astrazeneca dips on report of CEO move
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the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon – see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

By Helen Reid

LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) – European shares inched higher on
Thursday, with investors less keen to chase the previous
session’s strong rally that came on the back of the relatively
dovish tone struck by Fed chair Janet Yellen overnight.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.4 percent,
slightly ahead of euro zone stocks and blue-chips
, with rate-sensitive real estate stocks,
which were top gainers on Wednesday, tracking more modest gains.

On Wednesday, the European benchmark posted its best day
since Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the first round of French
presidential elections, as banks and yield plays rallied.

“With stocks having come off in the last few weeks, maybe
investors were thinking now is the time to take the opportunity
of that pullback and add some more,” said Mike Bell, global
market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.

“Yellen’s speech was a catalyst for that.”

Cyclicals were back to the fore on Thursday, however, with
banks, which gain from higher rates, up 0.6 percent. Continued
strength among miners, up 1.5 percent and near a
three-month high, supported the index.

“Our view remains that government bond yields will move
higher, and that leaves us still favouring the less
rate-sensitive parts of the stock market, cyclicals, while we’re
more cautious on defensives,” Bell added.

Earnings began trickling in from a string of French
companies.

Supermarket Casino jumped 4.6 percent, bolstering
gains among retailers, after its second-quarter sales
growth accelerated, helped by a brightening domestic picture and
a resilient performance in Brazil despite the recession there.

“The beat is likely helped by good weather annualizing
against a period of poor weather and strikes,” said Bernstein
retail analyst Bruno Monteyne.

“What’s not clear at this stage is whether, like Carrefour,
the sales beat at Casino will have come at the cost of higher
promotions and price cuts,” he added.

Shares in French industrial group Alstom, in which
the French state has a 20 percent stake, rose 2.9 percent after
it reported sales improved from a year ago, and maintained
financial targets.

Umicore jumped 4 percent higher after a top-ranked
analyst at ABN Amro added the Belgian chemicals group to their
‘conviction list’, citing capacity increases in the company’s
battery business, as growth prospects for the electric car
industry improve.

Souring sentiment somewhat, shares in Mercedes maker Daimler
fell 1.5 percent to the bottom of the DAX after a
report accusing the carmaker of selling cars with excess
emissions.

Drugmaker Astrazeneca was the worst European
performer after a report Chief Executive Pascal Soriot was to be
named CEO of Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
.
(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Vikram Subhedar and
Catherine Evans)


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