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* STOXX Europe 600 index trading flat
* Basic resources stocks among top gainers
* Focus on Britain's Autumn Statement
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Nov 23 European shares steadied on
Wednesday after rising in the previous two sessions, with basic
resources companies underpinning the broader market following a
rise in metals prices.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was trading flat
in percentage terms. However, Britain's commodity-heavy FTSE 100
index climbed 0.7 percent.
The European basic resources index rose 1.4 percent
to its highest level since mid-2015 after base and precious
metals prices advanced. Shares in BHP Billiton,
Fresnillo, Randgold Resources and Rio Tinto
were 1.1 to 2.9 percent higher.
"Longer term, the 'New Trump' reality of higher growth
through fiscal stimulus and infrastructure work certainly
warrants higher commodities and stock prices," said Philippe
Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis.
"However, in the short run, miners, just like the overall
market, are clearly ahead of themselves and a small period of
consolidation would be healthy for the sector."
The European mining sector has surged more than 12 percent
this month alone, taking total gains for this year to 60
percent, on growing expectations that U.S. President-elect
Donald Trump's pledge to invest heavily in infrastructure
projects would boost demand for raw materials.
However, Italian banks were on the back foot, with the
sector index down 2.2 percent on lingering concerns
that the outcome of a referendum vote on constitutional reforms
on Dec. 4 could topple Matteo Renzi's reformist government.
The European banking index was down 0.6 percent,
with shares in Banco Popolare, B P Milano
and Unicredit falling 2.8 to 5.0 percent.
Investors' focus will be on Britain's autumn budget update,
due at 1230 GMT. Sectors such as housing, utilities, energy and
airlines could react in the event of any sector-specific
announcements by Finance Minister Philip Hammond.
Elsewhere, British travel company Thomas Cook rose
more than 7 percent after saying it was on track to grow in its
current financial year after seeing an encouraging start to
bookings for next summer and as it benefits from a turnaround
plan for its German airline Condor.
(Editing by Mark Trevelyan)