October 31, 2018 / 8:34 AM / 20 days ago

Big bounce for European shares as investors put messy October behind them

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LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - European shares staged a strong rally on Wednesday as a tumultuous October drew to a close and strong results from L’Oreal, Sanofi, and banks Standard Chartered and Santander soothed investors’ nerves.

The leading euro zone stock index was up 1.7 percent in early deals, with the pan-European STOXX 600 up 1.5 percent and Germany’s DAX up 1.4 percent.

Despite early gains, the STOXX 600 was on track for its worst month since January 2016 as global equity markets reeled from sudden sell-offs this month.

L’Oreal shares jumped 5.9 percent after sales growth at the Maybelline parent picked up pace in the third quarter, driven by booming demand in Asia.

This bucked the trend of results so far warning of slower Chinese growth.

Shares in French pharmaceuticals giant Sanofi rose 5.2 percent after it confirmed its return to growth with higher-than-expected Q3 profits and raised its 2018 profit target for the second time this year.

Banks Santander and Standard Chartered rose 4 and 4.7 percent respectively after both lenders reported better results, helping boost sentiment in the battered banks sector.

Earnings disappointments still took big chunks out of some stocks.

Finnish tyre maker Nokian sank 11.4 percent after it cut its profit outlook, blaming unfavourable currency moves, high inventory levels in Russia, and lower new car sales in the Nordics for its surprise fall in quarterly earnings.

Nokian was the latest in the autos sector to report weaker profits due to slowing car sales.

Eutelsat shares sank 14 percent, the biggest STOXX 600 faller, after the satellite firm cut its revenue guidance.

M&A also drove some big moves.

Shares in British gambling firm William Hill jumped 4.5 percent after it offered to buy Swedish gaming company Mr Green for 2.82 billion crowns.

Shares in the acquisition target surged up 47 percent in early deals after the offer, a near 49 percent premium to Mr Green’s last closing price. (Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Josephine Mason)

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