Solid corporate earnings boost European equities

LONDON, July 17 Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:08am EDT

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - European shares edged up on Wednesday, buoyed by upbeat earnings reports from major companies which reassured some traders that the medium-term upward trend for equity markets remained intact.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index edged up by 0.2 percent to 1,193.76 points, recovering from a 0.7 percent fall in the previous session, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index rose 0.2 percent to 2,671.66 points.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis raised its full-year outlook, as did Dutch technology group ASML.

"On the whole, earnings season so far has been pretty good," said Berkeley Futures associate director Richard Griffiths.

According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 63 percent of companies on the pan-European STOXX 600 index have beaten or met market forecasts with their second-quarter results so far.

The FTSEurofirst 300, which has risen some 5 percent since the start of 2013, hit a 5-year high in late May of 1,258.09 points.

It dropped to a 2013 low of 1,111.11 points in late June on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve would scale back economic stimulus measures. It has since recovered as central banks have sought to reassure that they will continue to support the global economy.

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