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European shares up on U.S. rate outlook, led by Casino; Burberry slumps
October 15, 2015 / 8:54 AM / 2 years ago

European shares up on U.S. rate outlook, led by Casino; Burberry slumps

* FTSEurofirst 300 and Euro STOXX 50 both up 1 percent

* Good set of results lifts French retailer Casino

* Burberry slumps as China slowdown leads to sales miss

* Profit warning sends shipbuilder Fincantieri to all-time low

* Eyes on earnings, U.S. consumer prices data

By Danilo Masoni

MILAN, Oct 15 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Thursday after three days of losses, tracking gains in Asia on growing expectations the United States will delay any rate hike until 2016, with retailer Casino and consumer goods maker Unilever lifted by positive results.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index both gained around 1 percent.

Investors were focusing on a raft of corporate results in Europe and the United States, while U.S. consumer prices data on Thursday will also be closely watched for clues over the timing of a rate increase in the world's largest economy.

"Overall sentiment is mixed, however with U.S. rates not likely to go up any time soon, China stabilising and markets having come off substantially from their highs over the past few months some feel increasingly tempted to take advantage of generally lower valuations," said Peregrine & Black trader Markus Huber in a note.

French retailer Casino rose 6.9 percent, making it the top gainer in the pan-European index, as third quarter sales showed a marked improvement in its home market that beat some analyst expectations. However the decline in sales accelerated in the period hit by weak consumer electronics demand in its top market of Brazil and the August bombings in Thailand.

"This is a good set of sales results for Casino. The bad news in Latin America, mainly Brazil, and Thailand was known before," Bernstein analysts, who rate the stock with an outperform rating, said.

Unilever rose 4 percent after the consumer goods maker reported better than expected third-quarter sales, although it added sluggish markets globally continued to weigh on its performance.

However, Burberry fell 9 percent after a sharp sales slowdown in China and Hong Kong led the British luxury goods company to miss forecasts for first-half sales growth and warn of an increasingly challenging environment.

Syngenta also reported disappointing results which sent its shares down 2.8 percent. Sales for the Swiss agricultural chemicals group fell a worse-than-expected 12 percent hit by currency weakness in its second biggest market, Brazil.

Volkswagen edged up 0.05 percent, shrugging off news that the German automotive watchdog KBA will force the carmaker to recall 2.4 million vehicles in connection with a emissions test rigging scandal.

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri fell as much as 18 percent, its biggest daily fall since Rome privatised it last year, and reached an all-time low after launching a profit warning citing woes in Brazil. The company also said it had not taken any decision yet on a possible cash call.

Mining stocks were the top sectoral gainer in Europe, helped by London copper prices approaching four-week highs.

Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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