EUROPE MARKETS: European Stock Benchmarks End Higher, Boosted By Commodity Shares

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Euro moves back toward $1.10

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European equity-index gauges finished with modest gains Monday, scoring a fillip from commodity shares as oil and metals prices rose.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index ended up 0.1% at 395.97, marking a second straight advance and keeping the index around its highest since August 2015. But the index moved between small gains and losses throughout the session.

The oil-and-gas, basic-materials and financial sectors fared the best, but health-care, consumer-related and telecom shares struggled.

Commodities cruise up: The Stoxx Europe 600 Oil & Gas Index climbed 0.9%. It was bolstered by intraday gains of 3% for Brent and U.S. crude prices after Saudi Arabian and Russian energy ministers said they back a nine-month extension to a production cut (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/crude-oil-jumps-to-2-week-high-as-saudis-russia-back-continued-output-cuts-2017-05-15) deal led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries--proposing a longer extension than expected.

Separately, China's President Xi Jinping on Sunday pledged more than $100 billion in fresh financing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/xi-casts-china-as-guardian-of-globalization-as-he-pledges-100-billion-to-one-belt-one-road-2017-05-15) to support its "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure program. Metals prices rose, with silver futures packing on more than 1%.

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Mining stocks rose as well, leaving the Stoxx Europe 600 Basic Resources Index up 1.7%, the biggest rise since May 5.

"When oil rises and China opens its [check] book, this helps to lift risk sentiment and acts as a soothing balm, even though geopolitical risks are rising after frequent cyber attacks all over the world and North Korea tested its most advanced missile over the weekend," wrote Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index.

Read:cyberattack set to spread again Monday, experts fear (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cyberattacks-may-gear-up-again-monday-experts-fear-2017-05-14)

And see:North Korea's ballistic-missile launch viewed as challenge to new president in South (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/north-koreas-ballistic-missile-launch-viewed-as-challenge-to-new-president-in-south-2017-05-13)

In the oil group, producers Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN) and Statoil ASA (STL.OS) ended 3.1% and 2.1%, respectively. OMV AG leapt 7.3% after Barclays raised its rating on the integrated oil-and-gas company.

Among miners, Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) claimed a 2.3% rise and BHP PLC (BLT.LN) (BHP.AU) (BHP.AU) tacked on 2.3%. Steel pipe maker Tenaris (TEN.MI) moved up 2.2%.

Advances for oil and metals shares lifted the U.K.'s FTSE 100 by 0.3% to end at a record close of 7,454.37 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-mining-shares-lead-ftse-100-toward-another-record-high-2017-05-15).

See:BHP drops the "Billiton' in rebranding effort (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bhp-drops-the-billiton-in-rebranding-effort-2017-05-14)

Stock movers: Atlantia Spa shares (ATL.MI) rose 2.5% after the Italian infrastructure group launched a $17.8 billion cash-and-share offer for Spain's Abertis SA (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/atlantia-bids-178-billion-for-abertis-2017-05-15)(ABE.MC) that could create the world's biggest toll-road operator. Abertis shares fell 0.6%.

RWE AG (RWE.XE) picked up 3.9% after the German utility backed its full-year outlook and said it's on track to pay a dividend of 50 euro cents a share in 2017. RWE hasn't paid a dividend since 2015.

Sophos Group PLC (SOPH.LN) jumped 7.3% on the FTSE 350 Index . That moved helped the ISE Cyber Security ETF (ISPY.LN) rise 3.3%, as experts flagged the possibility of another massive cyberattack (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/anti-virus-stocks-rally-with-wannacry-cyber-attack-expected-to-go-on-the-rampage-again-2017-05-15). More than 200,000 computers in at least 150 countries were paralyzed last week by the so-called "WannaCry" malicious software.

TUI AG dropped 4.8% after the travel services company posted a slightly wider first-half adjusted loss of $251.9 million euros ($273.9 million).

Indexes: RWE's rise contributed to Germany's DAX 30 index ending at a record, rising by 0.3% to 12,807.04, adding to a recent run of records for the index.

France's CAC 40 rose 0.2% to 5,417.40.

The euro traded at $1.0975, up from $1.0932 late Friday in New York.

Read:The ECB has 3 big reasons to wind up QE--here's why it shouldn't (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-ecb-should-avoid-the-temptation-to-cancel-qe-2017-05-10) (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-ecb-should-avoid-the-temptation-to-cancel-qe-2017-05-10)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 15, 2017 12:45 ET (16:45 GMT)