Europe shares up on earnings boost, ECB action hope

LONDON, April 24 Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:20am EDT

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - European shares edged higher on Wednesday, adding to the previous session's hefty gains, buoyed by several solid earnings reports and continued expectations of further monetary easing.

The FTSEurofirst 300 was trading up 0.2 percent at 1,185.26 points by 0716 GMT, having jumped 2.4 percent on Tuesday to post its biggest gain since August 2012 after weak German data raised hopes of a European Central Bank rate cut.

As a result, investors would eye the German Ifo business climate indicator at 0800 GMT - expected to dip to 106.2 versus 106.7 in the previous month - where a weak reading could further fuel ECB rate cut speculation, traders said.

"I think (the market) will be choppy. Obviously we'll have the Ifo - I'll be surprised if it doesn't come in below expectations. If it does you're going to get all this rate cut speculation," Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets, said.

Aluminium maker Norsk Hydro was a solid gainer early on, ahead 2.8 percent after unveiling first-quarter core earnings that beat expectations.

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