* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.2 pct
* Goldman: “relatively benign” outlook on Europe equities
* Recovery in gold price boosts mining stocks
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - European equities recovered on Thursday from losses over the last week, led by mining stocks, although many analysts saw markets stuck in a tight near-term range due to uncertainty over U.S. monetary stimulus policy.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.1 percent at 1,224.68 points in mid-session trade, while the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index rose 0.2 percent to 2,792.58 points.
The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources Index, which houses major mining stocks, led sectoral gainers with a 1.1 percent rise as a recovery in the price of gold boosted the shares of gold mining companies such as Fresnillo.
Global equity markets have rallied this year, helped by injections of liquidity and rate cuts by major central banks, with the FTSEurofirst 300 hitting a near 5-year high this month, while Germany’s DAX reached all-time highs.
However, the rally has faded over the last week on signs the U.S. Federal Reserve may scale back a key stimulus measure known as quantitative easing (QE), which has hit returns on bonds and driven investors over to the better returns offered by equities.
The FTSEurofirst 300 has traded in a range from around 1,200 points to 1,258 points over the last month and traders expected it to consolidate around those levels in the near term while uncertainty over the Fed’s measures persisted.
“I am short-term bearish, long-term bullish. In my opinion, any correction will not be a correction but more of a consolidation,” said JN Financial investment manager Ed Smyth.
GOLDMAN KEEPS “BENIGN” OUTLOOK
Uncertainty over the Fed’s future policy has led to a rise on some volatility indexes, but the European VSTOXX volatility index fell 3 percent to 19.08 points on Thursday and remains below its 2013 peak of 25.90 points.
Pierre de Saab, who heads the investment team at Swiss asset manager Dominice & Co, advised against buying the VSTOXX at current levels, arguing that longer-term trends for equities still looked positive.
De Saab instead recommended using “call spread” option trades on European equity markets - a tactic used when an investor expects equity markets to rise gradually higher while also giving some protection against a pullback on markets.
Goldman Sachs was also confident over European equities even if bond yields went up as a result of a tapering off in the Fed’s QE.
“While there are certainly risks around QE being withdrawn, we continue to view rising bond yields as relatively benign for European equities,” Goldman wrote in a strategy note.