European shares eye 5-year peaks buoyed by solid earnings

Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:51am EDT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, near earlier 5-year peaks

* DAX hits new record high

* Aggreko and Assa Abloy rise on solid earnings updates

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, Oct 28 (Reuters) - A key pan-European equity index climbed back towards a 5-year peak on Monday, while Germany's DAX touched a fresh record high, as solid corporate earnings lifted regional stock markets.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.2 percent to 1,287.52 points in early session trade, close to a 5-year high of 1,291.93 points.

The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index advanced by 0.2 percent to 3,040.19 points while the German DAX also rose by as much as 0.4 percent to touch a new record high of 9,017.95 points.

"We have seen some strong performance from European equities over the summer, but would argue there is more to come," said Schroders' European equities fund manager Martin Skanberg.

Power company Aggreko topped the FTSEurofirst 300's leaderboard with a 4.3 percent rise after reporting that underlying revenues and trading margins in the three months to the end of September were up from the same period a year ago.

Lock maker Assa Abloy also rose by 3.1 percent after posting third quarter earnings ahead of market forecasts.

Tim Gregory, head of global equities at Psigma Investment Management, said robust results from leading European companies would continue to support European equity markets.

According to data from Thomson Reuters StarMine, 53 percent of the companies on the pan-European STOXX 600 index have beaten or met market expectations with their third quarter earnings updates so far.

Schroders' fund manager Skanberg also said that the fact that some global investors remained relatively "underweight" on European equities, compared to U.S. or Japanese equities, could give another boost to European shares as those investors looked to increase their allocations to the region.

"While there has been greater investor enthusiasm for the asset class recently, net inflows into European equities only really began to increase in July 2013," said Skanberg.

"Allocations to Europe remain low, with European Union equities still an underweight in many portfolios. This should be supportive for flows into Europe as and when quantitative easing ends in the U.S.," he added.

The FTSEurofirst 300 is up 13 percent since the start of 2013, while Germany's DAX has risen 18 percent.

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

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