LONDON (Reuters) - Strong gains among mining stocks and an HSBC-led rally in banks lifted European shares in early deals on Monday, putting the region's equities on track to end the month with a slight gain on the final trading day of July.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.4 percent, while blue chips gained 0.3 percent. Britain's commodity-heavy FTSE 100 index was up 0.7 percent while Germany's DAX also rose 0.2 percent.
Financials were the biggest boost to the STOXX, with banks up 0.8 percent, led higher by a 3.4 percent gain in HSBC, which rallied after the lender posted a forecast-beating 5 percent rise in first half pretax profit and announced its third buyback in a year.
As the European second quarter earnings season gathers pace, so far around 45 percent of MSCI Europe firms have reported results, 58 percent of which have either met or beaten analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.
This figure is slightly lower for euro zone firms, of which just over half have met or beaten expectations.
Mining firms were also strong performers on the day, jumping 1.5 percent as copper prices rose on the back of manufacturing data from China, the world's biggest consumer of metals.
British tobacco firms Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco extended their losses from the previous session, down 3 percent and 0.7 percent respectively following Friday's sell-off after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed cutting nicotine in cigarettes.
The STOXX 600 was on track to end the month with a small gain, hampered in July by a stronger euro which has weighed on euro zone firms, especially exporters.
(Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Gareth Jones)