LONDON Feb 15 European shares rose in early
trade on Wednesday as French lender Credit Agricole
led banking stocks higher and earnings provided a boost.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.3 percent
in early trade with the European banking index the
top-gaining sector, up 1.2 percent.
Shares in Credit Agricole <CAGR.PA. jumped 3.2 percent after
France's biggest retail bank beat forecasts with a smaller than
expected earnings drop in the fourth quarter.
Banking stocks were also helped by hawkish rhetoric from
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday, who said
that the Federal Reserve will likely need to raise interest
rates at an upcoming meeting. Low interest rates put pressure on
banks' margins, as has been the case in Europe.
Earnings also fuelled the move higher, with Finnish
packaging maker Huhtamaki rising 7 percent after
reporting results, the top gainer on the STOXX 600 index, and
brewer Heineken also rallying 3.6 percent after
confirming its margin target.
Among the biggest fallers, insurer Ageas, medical
equipment firm Gerresheimer and paints and coatings
company Akzo Nobel were all weaker after reporting
(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Toby Chopra)