European shares edge higher led by BT and Repsol – Reuters

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* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.5 pct, still down nearly 10 pct in

* BT shares rise after stronger than expected earnings

* Spain’s Repsol up after profits fall less than expected

* Centrica leads losers on share sale announcement

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Danilo Masoni

LONDON/MILAN, May 5 European stock markets edged
higher on Thursday, buoyed by encouraging earnings updates
including from telecoms group BT and oil company Repsol.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rebounded
to stand 0.5 percent higher after falling 1.2 percent in the
previous session to its lowest level in almost a month.

The FTSEurofirst has lost around 10 percent so far in 2016,
hit — like other global stock markets — by worries about a
slowdown in China, the world’s second-biggest economy, and
uncertainty over future U.S interest rate rises.

“Lower prices are starting to attract bargain hunters,” said
Markus Huber, a trader at City of London Markets Limited.

“However, overall sentiment remains negative as uncertainty
concerning global growth, a potential U.S. rate hike in the
third quarter and disappointing corporate earnings continue to
take a toll on markets,” he added.

BT was one of the best-performing stocks in the
region, rising 3.3 percent after the phone group reported a
better-than-expected 6 percent rise in full-year earnings.

Firmer oil prices also lifted the shares of major producers
, with Tullow Oil up 6.9 percent.

Spanish oil major Repsol climbed 6.4 percent after
posting a decline in first-quarter profits which was not as bad
as some had expected.

“A better than expected performance from the downstsream
driven by petrochemicals, alongside the upstream business
turning positive for the first time in a while, both contributed
to the strong performance,” analysts at RBC said in a note.

On the downside, Centrica fell 10.5 percent, making
it the top loser on the FTSEurofirst 300, after the British
energy supplier announced a surprise share sale to pay off debt
and protect its credit rating.

Today’s European research round-up

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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)