December 9, 2013 / 5:35 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-European shares edge up as China data underpins growth optimism

3 Min Read

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.3 pct

* China data helps stocks sustain rally after U.S. jobs beat

* Ferrovial boosted by British contract

By Francesco Canepa

LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - European shares edged up on Monday, consolidating gains from the previous session as Chinese export data encouraged investors to anticipate stronger global growth.

China's exports handily beat forecasts in November and an unexpected drop in consumer inflation eased fears of any imminent policy tightening, helping to sustain a rally in global shares which had been fuelled by estimate-beating jobs data from the United States on Friday.

"This is the first synchronised global recovery since 2010," said Nigel Bolton, head of European equities at the BlackRock Investment Institute.

"We do believe equity markets can continue to rise further into 2014, (although) I suspect it would be at a slower pace than 2013."

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.2 percent to 1,272.43 points and the euro zone Euro STOXX 50 added 0.3 percent to 2,988.67 points.

Spanish infrastructure company Ferrovial rose 3.2 percent, extending gains after saying its British subsidiary Amey had won a five-year, 130 million pound ($213 million) contract to maintain 10,000 km (6,200 miles) of roads in Britain.

Shares in Tullow Oil bucked the trend, falling 3.3 percent to make it the day's weakest performing share on the FTSEurofirst 300, after the explorer said the Tultule well it drilled in Ethiopia had failed to find oil.

The broader STOXX Europe 600 has rallied 13.5 percent this year despite falling profit estimates, leaving it trading at 13.5 times its expected earnings for the next 12 months, against its 10-year average of 12 times, Thomson Reuters Datastream showed.

"The bigger danger in my mind is that the economy just does not recover to the extent that we are anticipating," said BlackRock's Bolton, who expected European earnings per share to rise around 10 percent next year.

"If we don't get that, there's a reasonable amount priced into the market for earnings growth next year ... so you'll probably see the market will have to correct."

Curbing market gains were lingering concerns that stronger economic data will encourage the United States to advance a cut to its asset purchase programme, which has driven money out of cash and safer bonds into higher-yielding stocks.

A Reuters poll conducted after the U.S. payrolls data were released showed more U.S. primary dealers expect the Fed to start to taper its purchases in March, or sooner.

Uncertainty over when the process will begin and what it might mean for equities are likely to keep a lid on markets into year's end, even though Friday's data suggested the economy was recovering well enough to cope with a Fed move.

"Against the backdrop of decent growth, strong unemployment, it's not such a bad thing," said Mouhammed Choukeir, chief investment officer at Kleinwort Benson, reiterating his positive stance on European equities.

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