CORRECTED-European shares nudge higher as Nokia gains on HTC settlement

Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:09am EST

(In paragraph 5, corrects analyst's name to .. Lee Simpson .., not.. Lee Robinson)

* FTSEurofirst 300, Euro STOXX 50 both up 0.1 pct

* Nokia top riser after HTC settlement

* Focus on guidance as Yellen speaks this week

By Tricia Wright

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - European shares inched higher on Monday, led by Nokia's gains after settling patent claims with rival HTC and on relief that Wall Street weathered weak U.S. jobs figures buoyed the broader market.

Finnish handset maker Nokia rose nearly 4 percent in brisk trade after what analysts at Credit Suisse described as a "benchmark win", which they see as paving the way for future licensing deals and higher revenues for Nokia.

The stock was among the top risers on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, up 0.1 percent at 1,300.87 points by 0855 GMT, the fourth straight session of gains for the index.

Trading volume in Nokia stood at more than half its 90-day daily average, against the FTSEurofirst on about 10 percent.

"It shows that patent litigation can be settled. The wording of the statement is a little vague but it seems as though it is to be benefit of Nokia," Lee Simpson, an analyst a Jefferies, said.

"The longer-term juice is the implementation play, where there could be future collaboration between Nokia and HTC.. and I think that's what investors are buying."

Most Asian indexes made gains on Monday, led by Tokyo's Nikkei, with the market looking ahead to U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen's first testimony to the House on Tuesday and the Senate on Thursday.

Yellen is expected to point to a longer-term trend toward improvement in the labour market and to low but stable inflation as reasons for steady reductions in Fed stimulus.

"The payrolls numbers are seen as less important to what the Fed will say in response," Peel Hunt equity strategist Ian Williams said.

"The consensus seems to be... (Yellen will) confirm that she's fairly confident that the underlying recovery is solid enough for tapering to continue and that view is reassuring."

A sell-off in emerging market assets, fuelled by signs of a slowdown in China and a range of issues in other countries, had pushed several European indexes to their most oversold levels in many months last week.

The technical picture may be looking more robust, with the Euro STOXX 50 - trading up 0.1 percent at 3,040.76 - having closed above its 100-day moving average for the first time since Jan. 30 on Friday, but earnings remain a cause for concern.

STOXX Europe 600 firms yet to report are seen missing consensus quarterly earnings forecasts by 1.6 percent on average, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine SmartEstimates, which focus on the up-to-date predictions of the historically most accurate analysts.

This is a bad sign given the widely held view that Europe's earnings must grow if markets are to continue to grind higher.

"To be absolutely confident that the uptrend is intact, you need to get that bottom-up news improving a bit," Peel Hunt's Williams said.

The STOXX Europe 600 trades on a 12-month forward price/earnings ratio of 13.6 times against its 10-year average of 11.9 times, Thomson Reuters Datastream shows.

Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pad95v

Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/rav46v

Today's European research round-up (Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Louise Ireland)