Sanofi and Unilever nudge European shares higher

LONDON Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:36am EDT

LONDON Oct 25 (Reuters) - Reassuring updates from drugmaker Sanofi and consumer goods group Unilever lifted European shares on Thursday, although some traders felt worries over the euro zone would limit further moves higher.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index provisionally closed up 0.2 percent at 1,095.85 points. However, the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.3 percent to 2,483.01 points as financial stocks declined.

Sanofi rose 1.6 percent, adding the most points to the FTSEurofirst 300 index, after the French company forecast that 2012 earnings would fall less than expected.

KBL Switzerland chief investment officer Philippe Carette backed "defensive" equity sectors such as healthcare, seen as resilient in an economic downturn, due to the underlying worries over the euro zone and Spain's debt crisis.

"Overall, I suspect we may be due for some correction. I don't see a clear picture on how to address the Spanish problem. The amount of bad loans in the Spanish banking system is huge," he said.