UPDATE 1-European shares hold at five-month highs as BP buoys oil stocks

Tuesday, October 31 2017

UPDATE 1-European shares hold at five-month highs as BP buoys oil stocks UPDATE 1-European shares hold at five-month highs as BP buoys oil stocks Source : Last 16:00 hrs
* STOXX 600 up 0.2 pct
* BP jumps after Q3 results, share buy-back
* Earnings boost Ryanair, Croda, SCA
* BNP Paribas FICC trading disappoints (Adds quotes and detail, updates prices)
By Kit Rees
LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - European stocks held at five-month highs on Tuesday, supported by a jump in the shares of oil company BP, which announced buoyant earnings and a share buy-back programme.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2 percent by 0949 GMT. Euro zone blue chips also gained 0.2 percent.
Spain's IBEX built on the previous session's gain, rising 0.7 percent as political tensions eased after Spain took over direct rule of Catalonia.
Trading was generally muted with Germany's stock market closed for a holiday and investors waiting for key monetary policy decisions by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.
Shares in heavyweight oil major BP jumped more than 3 percent to their highest level since July 2014 after its third- quarter profit beat expectations. It also announced a share buy-back programme.
"We were expecting this to begin some time in 2018 and today's announcement is a very positive surprise," analysts at UBS said in a note.
Energy shares were up 1.3 percent on the day, but the sector has struggled in 2017 and is down slightly year to date. Analysts at Barclays said that both Global Active and European Active funds were still underweight the energy sector.
"As we head into year-end and early 2018 we expect yet more evidence to emerge of the re-set that the oil industry has gone through," analysts at Barclays said in a note.
"With the energy sector offering close to the highest premium of dividends to the market for nearly 30 years, this should in turn lead to a re-rating," Barclays analysts added.
Ryanair results were also well-received, with the budget airline's shares up more than 5 percent after it maintained its full-year profit guidance.
Chemicals maker Croda gained 3.6 percent after a trading update. Swedish forest products company Svenska Cellulosa jumped 4.9 percent after beating expectations .
Swiss toilet and plumbing supplies maker Geberit led declines on the STOXX, falling 5.5 percent after third- quarter sales and earnings missed expectations.
BNP Paribas lost the most among banks, falling 3.3 percent after posting its results. Traders pointed out a disappointing performance in its markets business.
Barclays and Deutsche Bank have also struggled, with volatility low and interest rates at record lows.
"This is very much industry-wide, and it is down predominantly to the low volatility that we're seeing in the markets," said Jonathan Roy, advisory investment manager at Charles Hanover Investments, said. "These trading operations are starting to feel the pinch."
So far, more than 40 percent of MSCI Europe companies have reported results for the third quarter, of which 65 percent have either beat or met expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data. Financials and tech are sectors stand out for their large proportion of beats.
(Reporting by Kit Rees; editing by Sujata Rao, Larry King) SEARCH