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Wall Street bounce helps European shares rise from two-year lows

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European shares
European shares   -   Copyright  STAFF(Reuters)
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European shares rose slightly on Thursday in the wake of a record bounce on Wall Street, although Italian banks declined after a top shareholder at Banca Carige blocked a vital cash call for the troubled lender.

The STOXX 600 <.STOXX> index had risen 0.2 percent by 0836 GMT, underpinned by gains in industrials and financials, while defensive sectors were under pressure after outperforming recently on worries over an economic slowdown and political stability.

The pan-European benchmark index, which recorded its lowest close in around two years in the last session before the holiday break, remained on track for its worst yearly performance since 2008, having fallen nearly 14 percent year to date.

Italian banks <.FTIT8300> fell 0.7 percent after Carige's top investor in put its future into question by blocking a vital 400 million euro new share issue.

Intesa Sanpaolo, the country's largest retail bank, fell 1.3 percent.

Elsewhere, shares in Vinci rose 1.3 percent after the French construction group said it was buying a majority stake in London's Gatwick airport for about 2.9 billion pounds.

Earthport soared 280 percent after Visa said it would pay 198 million pounds to buy the British payments firm.