* FTSEurofirst 300 and Euro STOXX 50 up 0.3 pct
* Markets seen range-bound in near-term
* Recovery in price of gold boosts mining stocks
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - European equities rose on Thursday, helped 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 rose 0.3 percent to 1,227.41 points. The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.3 percent to 2,794.77 points.
The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources Index, which houses major mining stocks, led sectoral gainers with a 1.8 percent rise as a recovery in the price of gold boosted the shares of gold mining companies such as Rangold.
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 also reached all-time highs.
However, the rally has faded over the last week on signs the U.S. Federal Reserve may scale back some stimulus measures.
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.
Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss bank Reyl, said he would wait for a further fall on the Euro STOXX 50 index before buying back into that index.
“We would look for the Euro STOXX 50 to correct to 2,620 or 2,670 points - that could be a level to purchase it,” he said.
ING Commercial Banking technical analyst Roelof-Jan van den Akker added he would remain bullish on prospects for the Euro STOXX 50 provided the index held above its 50-day moving average level of 2,705 points.
Savary and other traders expected any tapering in the Fed’s stimulus measures to be a gradual one, which in turn would help prevent any sudden deep sell-off on the European stock markets.
Interactive Investors’ head of derivatives Mike McCudden also said bargain-hunters were moving in to buy equities on expectations that any tapering of the Fed’s stimulus programme may be some way off.
“We are currently seeing some bargain hunters sifting through yesterdays wreckage and taking a punt that weak U.S. jobs data will prompt a delay from the Fed and another sharp move higher for equities,” McCudden wrote in a trading note.