OPEC sinks energy firms to cap European share rally; DAX extends streak

Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:54pm IST

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* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, DAX up 0.6 pct

* Energy services firms tumble to new lows

* Stimulus speculation helps euro zone stocks

* DAX gains ground for 11th straight session (Recasts, adds closing prices)

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Share price falls for energy firms capped gains for top European stocks on Thursday, after OPEC resisted pressure to cut supply in the face of a global slump in the oil price.

However, shares were able to edge higher, led up by the German DAX, which extended its recent sharp rally on the back of encouraging data and expectations of further stimulus measures from the European Central Bank.

Oil-related stocks were under pressure, making up the 12 biggest fallers on the index, as oil tumbled $6 and touched a four-year low following the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' decision not to cut supply.

The STOXX Europe 600 Oil & Gas Index extended losses to trade down 4 percent following the meeting.

The energy services sector bore the brunt of the falls, while airlines rose to the top of the index as the falling oil price cut costs.

Seadrill fell 7 percent to a fresh five-year low. It has lost a quarter of its value in the last two sessions, extending a slump on Wednesday after suspending its dividend in the face of tough market conditions.

Swiss-listed shares of Transocean fell 7.9 percent to an all-time low.

"With OPEC reluctant to curtail output ... we may have to wait for a material pickup in demand before the market stabilises and oil prices recover," said Kash Kamal, Research Analyst at Sucden Financial.

"Only then may we see some respite to the recent rout in share prices experienced by service firms."

Conversely, British Airways owner IAG rose 4.8 percent to an all-time high, with UK airlines receiving a boost from the prospect of a passenger tax in Scotland being scrapped.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed up 0.2 percent at 1,392.40 points in quiet trade, with the United States shut for Thanksgiving holiday.

The DAX was up 0.6 percent, rising for its 11th straight session, bringing the index within 100 points of breaking its all-time high set in June.

Germany's unemployment rate touched a record low in November, while at the same time weak inflation data raised helped expectations that the European Central Bank would buy bonds in response.

On Wednesday, ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio said the bank might decide as early as the first quarter of next year whether to begin buying sovereign bonds.

"We'll need to see more action from the ECB for the rally in weaker markets to be extended. With action next year expected, maybe only measures in December will surprise markets," said Veronika Pechlaner, European fund manager at Ashburton.

Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today's European research round-up (Editing by Andrew Roche)

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