European shares edge up, with chemicals in demand

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 24, 2016 15:20 hrs

* STOXX 600 up 0.1 percent

* Domino's surges on expansion plans

* Upgrades help chemicals, insurers

* Thyssenkrupp off lows after results

* Ex-divs weigh on UK-listed firms

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) - European shares edged up on Thursday, remaining within a recent range, as a boost from chemical and insurance companies was partly offset by weak telecoms and utilities.

The STOXX Europe 600 index was up 0.1 at 341.02 by 0924 GMT, still down 0.5 percent from Tuesday's high for the week. The session was expected to remain quiet, with Wall Street shut for its Thanksgiving holiday.

Domino's Pizza was the top riser, up 6 percent. The company said it would step up its expansion plans after seeing a strong performance from new outlets and a positive market outlook.

"The group continues to trade well and management is reiterating FY guidance," analysts at Numis said in a note, adding that it looked cheap compared with competitors.

"With renewed confidence in the rollout opportunity coupled with best practice from other Domino's franchisors we believe the discount to peers is overdone."

Chemical firms were the top sectoral gainers, up 0.4 percent, helped by rises for the likes of Linde and Arkema. Arkema rose after UBS raised its target price on the stock.

Insurer Direct Line rose 3.2 percent, after it was upgraded to "overweight" from "equal-weight" by Morgan Stanley. In all, insurers were up 0.3 percent.

Ex-divs weighed on the market. TalkTalk, Vodafone and National Grid all traded without entitlement to their latest dividend payouts, dragging down telecoms and utilities.

Thyssenkrupp fell after the steel-to-elevators group gave a cautious outlook to accompany solid full-year results. However, it was well up from lows, down just 0.5 percent, as commodities rallied.

Commodity-related stocks have been a beneficiary of President-elect Donald Trump's plans to boost infrastructure spending, and this reflation trade helped zinc to an eight-year high on Thursday.

Today's European research round-up

(Editing by Larry King)

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