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European shares up on steel rally, easing of bond sell-off fears
May 14, 2015 / 4:41 PM / 3 years ago

European shares up on steel rally, easing of bond sell-off fears

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.7 pct, DAX up 1.8 pct

* Steel rally lifts market, outweighs bond concerns

* Rise in yields and euro currency weigh on equities

* Europe bourses in 2015: (Updates with closing prices)

By Sudip Kar-Gupta, Alistair Smout and Ahmed Aboulenein

LONDON/EDINBURGH, May 14 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Thursday, helped by a rally in steel company stocks after a report the European Commission had opened an anti-dumping inquiry into cold rolled steel imports from Russia and China.

The European Commission has set tariffs on imports of grain-oriented, flat-rolled electrical steel (GOES) following a complaint lodged in June 2014 by the European steel producers association, Eurofer.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had at one stage been down by as much as 0.8 percent, was up 0.7 percent to 1,581.43 points by the close.

Germany’s DAX, which hit a record high last month, was up 1.8 percent. France’s CAC rose 1.4 percent.

A pick-up this week in benchmark German and U.S. bond yields had made equities look more expensive compared with debt. Some investors trimmed equity positions to cash in on the earlier stock market rally.

But fears over the bond sell-off seemed to recede as the rest of the market also recovered.

“If we look across sectors, the rally is fairly broad. The concerns over the bond sell-off in Europe might be coming down as expectations of deflation are lowered. People are pricing in higher inflation now,” said James Butterfill, global equity strategist at Coutts.

“Seasonally, yields tend to fall this time of year so the recent sell-off has gone against the recent seasonal trends.”

Steel company Arcelor Mittal was the best performer on the FTSEurofirst, rising 5.7 percent, while rival ThyssenKrupp advanced 2.8 percent.

Stocks were however held back earlier as the dollar weakened on signs that a slowdown in the U.S. economy at the start of the year was stretching into the second quarter. The dollar’s decline pushed up the value of the euro.

Italian luxury group Salvatore Ferragamo, for example, fell to a one-week low. A stronger dollar helped sales in the last quarter, although management said foreign exchange volatility meant it was too early to say whether full-year estimates would be met.

Its decline was the biggest on Italy’s FTSE MIB, which was up 1.5 percent. The company’s shares were briefly suspended after it slumped 5 percent.

Asset performance in 2015:

Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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