* FTSEurofirst 300 edges up 0.2 percent to 1,095.90 points
* Euro STOXX 50 falls 0.3 pct to 2,483.43 points
* Some traders remain concerned over euro zone debt crisis
* Sanofi and Unilever issue encouraging updates
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Oct 25 European shares edged up after
reassuring updates from drugmaker Sanofi and consumer
goods group Unilever, although some traders said euro
zone concerns would curb further gains.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.2 percent at
1,095.90 points. However, the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX
50 index fell 0.3 percent to 2,483.43 points as
financial stocks declined.
Sanofi rose 1.4 percent, adding the most points to the
FTSEurofirst 300 index, after the French company forecast that
2012 earnings would fall less than expected.
KBL Switzerland chief investment officer Philippe Carette
backed "defensive" equity sectors such as healthcare, seen as
resilient in an economic downturn, due to underlying worries
over the euro zone and Spain's debt crisis.
"I suspect we may be due for some correction. I don't see a
clear picture on how to address the Spanish problem. The amount
of bad loans in the Spanish banking system is huge," he said.
Spain is under pressure to seek a sovereign bailout, and the
country's IBEX equity index fell 0.2 percent, with
Spanish bank Santander slipping by 0.6 percent after
posting a drop in profits.
MIXED UPDATES FROM EUROPEAN COMPANIES
Europe's leading companies have so far reported mixed
third-quarter business updates.
Unilever joined Sanofi with encouraging results on
Thursday, reporting higher sales that caused Unilever's
Amsterdam-listed shares to rise 2.6 percent and contribute one
of the biggest points gains to the FTSEurofirst 300.
However, France Telecom slumped by 5.2 percent
after it cut its dividend and warned of tough times in 2013.
According to Thomson Reuters Starmine data, 47 percent of
European companies have so far missed their earnings forecasts.
Although the FTSEurofirst 300 has risen 8 percent since
July, when world central banks pledged new measures to fight off
the economic slowdown, it has fallen 2.4 percent from a peak of
1,122.76 points in mid-September.
Rafael Molinero, who runs London quantitative hedge fund
Molinero Capital Management, said he was sticking with a "long"
position on betting on further gains for European equities.
Other traders said that while they would not wager big bets
on European stock markets advancing much further in the near
term, some key European equity indices appeared well-supported
at current levels according to technical analysis.
Mike Turner, European equity options broker at XBZ Ltd, said
an inverse "head-and-shoulders" pattern was forming on the Euro
STOXX 50 and Germany's DAX indexes.
This is often seen by traders who use technical analysis as
a sign that markets might edge higher, and Turner said most
investors were not taking out big "short" bets on major falls on
European stock markets for now.
"In the short-term, people are less inclined to 'short' it,"