European shares rose slightly at the opening session on Wednesday, supported by strength in mining stocks and some solid earnings updates, although a drop in Italian banks on fresh political worries weighed.
The pan-European STOXX 600 Index rose 0.1 per cent by 0855 GMT, hovering around its highest level since early February, while Italy's FTSE MIB fell 0.9 per cent, reports Reuters.
Italian banks, which are seen as a proxy for political risk in the country due to their government bond holdings, fell 1.5 per cent as borrowing costs rose after a report that Italy’s 5-Star and League plan to ask the ECB to forgive 250 billion euros of Italian debt.
Among top gainers on the STOXX was Micro Focus, which rose 7.6 per cent after Britain’s leading software company said a new $40 million licensing deal would help bolster its first-half revenue.
French manufacturing group Alstom also rose sharply, up 5.3 per cent following its update. The group, which is merging its rail operations with Germany’s Siemens, reported higher annual sales and profits.
Saipem soared 8.0 per cent to the top of the STOXX after it was upgraded by Bernstein to “outperform”, reflecting growing optimism in the recovery of the embattled Italian oil services firm.
The recent surge in crude oil prices has helped the oil and gas sector rise 13 per cent so far this year, leading sectoral gainers in Europe.
Paddy Power Betfair rose 6.3 per cent after the bookmaker said it was in discussions regarding a potential combination of its US business and fantasy sports company Fanduel to target the prospective US sports betting market.
Elsewhere, Elior, however, fell 15 per cent following a profit warning.
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