* STOXX up 0.1 pct at highest since Dec 2015
* Oil index hits 9-week high
* Banks led lower by Banco Popular
* Imagination Tech's slump hits Dialog
(Adds details, updates prices)
By Danilo Masoni
MILAN, April 3 European shares edged up on
Monday helped by stronger oil stocks, while the loss of major
customer Apple hammered shares in British firm Imagination Tech,
also weighing on other tech stocks in the region.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.1 percent
by 0925 GMT, following gains last week and steadying at its
highest level since early December 2015. Germany's DAX
added 0.3 percent and UK's FTSE was flat.
The oil and gas sector index rose as much as 0.7
percent to its highest level in nine weeks as investors turned
more confident in a sector that has been the worst performer in
Europe so far this year with a fall of 2.4 percent.
"The sector appears to be bottoming, with risk/reward skewed
higher near term," analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note,
citing expectations that producing countries may agree more
output cuts and a pick of deal-making in the sector.
The oil index pared some gains but remained in positive
territory, up 0.5 percent, as oil futures moved higher.
In the sector, Italian oil services firm Saipem
led the gainers, up 1.3 percent, followed by OMV and
Lundin Petroleum, both up 1.3 percent.
Europe's basic resources index also rose by
0.4percent, as copper prices inched higher.
Banco Popular fell 4.8 percent, leading losers on
the STOXX and helping make the European banking index,
down 0.7 percent, the worst sectoral performer.
Shares in Popular fell after the Spanish lender said an
internal audit identified the need of adjustments to its
accounts with most of the adjustments related to doubtful loans.
"Another unhelpful development which does little to restore
confidence in the balance sheet," Jefferies analysts said.
Outside the STOXX index, London-listed Imagination Tech
slumped 60 percent after Apple said it would
stop using its graphics technology in the iPhone and other
Traders said the heavy losses in Imagination also weighed on
German chipmaker Dialog Semiconductor, which counts
Apple among its biggest customers. Dialog fell 3.7 percent.
Broker Northern Trust says Apple's decision to ditch
Imagination is likely a one-off, and any weakness in Dialog and
peer AMS was a buying opportunity.
(Editing by Stephen Powell)