Richemont and ARM help lift European shares

Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:14am EDT

* FTSEurofirst and Euro STOXX 50 up 0.4 pct

* Richemont and ARM surge on solid earnings updates

* Concerns linger over global economy

* Some clients looking to sell into rallies

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Tuesday, helped by solid earnings at luxury goods group Richemont and chip designer ARM, which eased worries over the global economy after weak Chinese economic data.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.4 percent to 1,159.78 points, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index advanced 0.4 percent to 2,594.57 points.

Richemont gained 5.2 percent, adding the most points to the FTSEurofirst 300 index, after signalling that its annual profit had risen by nearly a third from a year ago.

ARM surged 7.4 percent to top the FTSEurofirst 300 index after its first-quarter profit rise beat market expectations.

Hendrik Klein, who heads Swiss high-frequency trading and asset management firm Da Vinci Invest AG, said it was worth adding to "long" positions to bet on further gains for European equities, despite a pull-back over the last month.

"I think that at these levels, you should look to slightly build some 'long' positions," said Klein.

ATTRACTIVE VALUATIONS

Klein said European equities looked attractively valued, compared to U.S. equities.

According to Thomson Reuters Starmine data, the "smartestimate" - which favours top-rated analysts - has a price to earnings ratio of 12 for the next 12 months for the pan-European STOXX 600 index.

This represents a cheaper valuation than a comparative price-to-earnings ratio of 13.7 for the next 12 months for the U.S. S&P 500 index, according to Starmine.

However, others were more cautious.

Concerns over the pace of the global economic recovery were resurrected on Tuesday by data which showed a dip in China's factory sector.

Germany, whose economy has proven relatively resilient in the face of the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis, saw its private sector shrink for the first time in five months in April, data showed.

These economic headwinds have led many investors to expect a pull-back on European equities in the second quarter after a strong start to 2013.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index has risen 2 percent since the start of 2013 but has slipped back 4 percent after reaching a 2013 peak of 1,209.05 points in mid-March.

Berkeley Futures associate director Richard Griffiths said clients were buying "put" options to bet on a future market fall, and had taken "puts" with a June maturity and strike prices of 2,450 and 2,425 points on the Euro STOXX 50, implying expectations that the Euro STOXX could fall to that level by then.

"We're still looking for any rallies to be sold here," said Griffiths.

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