May 15, 2017 / 12:17 PM / in 5 months

European shares supported by oil bounce; cybersecurity stocks gain

MILAN (Reuters) - European shares edged higher on Monday, helped by a bounce in oil prices and fresh dealmaking activity, while a global hacking attack boosted shares of software security firms.

The trading floor of the Frankfurt's stock exchange is reflected in a DAX sign in Frankfurt, Germany January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.1 percent at its close. Both Germany’s DAX and the UK’s FTSE were up 0.3 percent and hit fresh record highs earlier in the session.

Oil prices jumped more than 2 percent after top exporter Saudi Arabia and Russia said supply cuts needed to last into 2018, a step towards keeping an OPEC-led deal to support prices in place longer than originally agreed.

That helped commodity-related stocks with the basic resources and oil indexes climbing 1.7 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

Some investors said after three straight weeks of gains for European equities, the mood was dampened by Friday’s unprecedented “ransomware” attack that hit 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries.

“The risk sentiment is dull due to cyber uncertainties,” said London Capital Group analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya.

SECURITY SHARES BOOSTED

The attack, however, boosted shares in software security firms. A cybersecurity exchange-traded fund ISE jumped more than 3 percent, while London-listed shares in cloud network security firm Sophos popped more than 7 percent higher to hit a record level.

In Helsinki, digital security firm F-Secure rose 3.8 percent to a 16-year high, while information security consulting Nixu gained 2.4 percent.

“Security is a growing business already and these kinds of news will accelerate the need for improvement of cybersecurity among companies,” said Kim Gorschelnik, head of research at Finnish asset manager FIM.

Outside of tech stocks, Italian motorway company Atlantia rose 2.5 percent after it launched a 16 billion euro bid for Spanish rival Abertis, whose share were little changed.

Banca Akros analyst Francesco Sala lifted its recommendation on Atlantia to accumulate from neutral, saying he expected the offer could lift the group’s earnings per share by 30 percent.

Shares in RWE rose nearly 4 percent after the German utility posted core profit slightly above expectations, pointing to cost cuts and improved utilisation at its power plants division.

A poor earning update, however, hit shares in TUI, which fell 4.8 percent. Europe’s largest tour operator said summer trading was in line with expectations with demand for Spain, Greece and the Caribbean helping to offset subdued bookings for Turkey and North Africa.

Earnings in Europe have been surprisingly strong so far. According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data, more than 70 percent of MSCI companies have reported results so far with 66 percent beating expectations and 8 percent meeting them, pointing to growth in first-quarter earnings of 20.2 percent.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni and Kit Rees, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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