European shares end higher boosted by banks and auto stocks

(Corrects country of index in paragraph 3 to say Italy's MIB,not Spain's MIB)

By Susan Mathew

April 12 (Reuters) - European shares finished higher for athird straight day on Friday, with investor sentiment getting aboost from JP Morgan setting a strong start to U.S. earnings andamid signs of stabilization in China's economy.

Italy's MIB .FTMIB led gains in the region with its 0.8percent rise, having hit an eight-month high earlier thesession, while German shares .GDAXI closed up 0.5 percent.

Data showed that China's exports rebounded to a five-monthhigh in March, but imports shrank for a fourth straight monthand at a faster pace, painting a mixed picture of the economy. MKTS/GLOB

"The markets seems to have shaken off the negative aspectsof the Chinese trade data, but it's a minor rise at the end of afairly limp week," said Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spreadex.

Banks got a boost after shares of the largest U.S. bank byassets JPM.N rose after the company beat quarterly profitestimates, easing fears that slowing economic growth could weighon its results.

Regional lenders, such as StanChart STAN.L , Deutsche BankDBKGn.DE , BNP ParibasBNPP.PA and Credit SuisseCSGN.S rallied, taking the European bank index .SX7P up 1.9 percentto a five-month high.

HSBCHSBA.L was among the biggest driver of gains on thepan-region benchmark. The firm said it so far moved only a"tiny" number of jobs to Paris in order to deal with Brexit.

Italy's biggest bank, UniCreditCRDI.MI rose more than 4percent even after it said is one of the banks accused ofrunning a cartel in trading euro zone government bonds between2007 and 2012, when financial crises dragged down banks andseveral European economies.

The auto sector .SXAP followed suit with car-makers suchBMW BMWG.DE , Daimler DAIGn.DE and Fiat Chrysler FCHA.MI gaining more than 2.2 percent each.

Amid warnings that proposed U.S. automotive tariffs could domore damage to global growth than the ongoing U.S.-China tradedispute, BAML analysts point to a lack of action out of the U.S.on threatened auto tariffs.

"In our view, the reluctance to move forward is becauseactually imposing auto tariffs would be both deeply unpopularand a major shock to the equity markets."

Basic resources .SXPP stocks also gained with iron ore andcopper prices on the rise. Rio Tinto RIO.L and GlencoreGLEN.L were among top boosts to Britain's blue-chip indexhigher.

Airbus AIR.PA gained as its new chief executive, GuillaumeFaury, imposed a simplified management structure and a manifestofor factory modernisation.

GN Store NordGN.CO rose 7.8 percent after the Danishaudio-maker raised financial guidance. Medical technologysupplier Carl ZeissAFXG.DE climbed 6.6 percent on strongfull-year guidance.

Swiss train and carriage manufacturer Stadler RailSRAIL.S jumped 13.4 percent after its debut on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

On the other hand, London-based online trading platformPlus500 PLUSP.L tumbled 31.2 percent as revenue for the firstquarter dropped to around a fifth of last year's, hurt by a fallin trading volumes.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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