Buoyant techs propel Europe stocks to 2-wk high

Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:14am EDT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 1 pct, gaining ground for 3rd day

* Tech shares get Intel boost

* Banks among the top gainers, led by HSBC, BBVA, SocGen

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, July 15 (Reuters) - European stocks rose to a two-week high on Wednesday, as forecast-beating earnings from Intel (INTC.O), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) reassured investors on the outlook for corporate profits.

At 0800 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares was up 1 percent at 848.36 points, gaining ground for the third consecutive day.

Tech stocks were among the biggest gainers, with the DJ STOXX European technology index .SX8P up 2.6 percent. Nokia (NOK1V.HE) climbed 4.1 percent, Infineon (IFXGn.DE) advanced 4.1 percent and STMicroelectronics (STM.PA) put on 4.5 percent.

Alcatel-Lucent (ALUA.PA), upgraded to "buy" by Banc of America Merrill Lynch, surged 7.2 percent.

"Upward pressure on the share price will come from those investors who buy into the new management at Alcatel-Lucent, and from the fact that margins will likely move from negative to positive over the course of this year helped by seasonality and initial impact of cost-cutting," Banc of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a note.

After the bell on Wall Street on Tuesday, Intel Corp's (INTC.O) quarterly results and outlook trumped analyst forecasts on better-than-expected consumer demand for PCs, especially in Asia.

Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs also pleased investors on Tuesday with better-than-expected results.

However, Goldman's strong results are not necessarily a preview of what to expect from all the banks, said Marie-Pierre Peillon, head of equity and credit research at Groupama Asset Management, in Paris.

"We're in the process of making the distinction between the winners and the losers. Goldman is one of the winners, but other banks are still struggling," she said.

BRACING FOR MORE EARNINGS

Banking stocks were in positive territory, with Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), HSBC (HSBA.L), BBVA (BBVA.MC) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) up 1.2-2.7 percent.

Around Europe, UK's FTSE 100 index .FTSE was up 0.9 percent, Germany's DAX index .GDAXI up 1.4 percent, and France's CAC 40 .FCHI up 1 percent.

Mining and steel stocks also gained ground, bolstered by rising metal prices. Xstrata XTA.L gained 3.3 percent, Rio Tinto (RIO.L) added 2.7 percent and ArcelorMittal ISPA.L climbed 2.8 percent.

So far this year, the DJ STOXX basic resources index .SXPP is up 38 percent, the banking index .SX7P is up 22 percent and the tech index .SX8P is up 14 percent.

Optimism about a burgeoning economic recovery sparked a sharp stock rally during the spring, propelling the FTSEurofirst 300 up 38 percent, but mixed macro data and rekindled doubts over the outlook for corporate results halted the rally last month, with the FTSEurofirst 300 down 4.7 percent since June 10.

Investors were bracing from more earnings from global companies due later this week, with Google (GOOG.O), IBM (IBM.N), JPMorgan (JPM.N) reporting on Thursday, and Bank of America (BAC.N), Citigroup (C.N) and General Electric (GE.N) reporting on Friday.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; editing by Simon Jessop)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Find your dream retirement town

Florida? Hawaii? Reuters has teamed up with Zillow to give you the power to customize a list of your best places to retire.  Video | Full Article