* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct, near 2-1/2 month highs
* France's CAC-40 outperforms other major European markets
* Economic recovery buoys European stock markets
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Aug 14 European shares rose back towards
2-1/2 month highs on Wednesday, led by gains on the French stock
exchange, as data showing that the euro zone had emerged from
recession lifted the region's markets.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up by
0.3 percent at 1,241.25 points in late session trade, putting
the index at its highest level since late May.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
also advanced by 0.3 percent to 2,850.10 points while France's
CAC-40 index outperformed other major European markets
with a 0.6 percent rise that put the CAC at a 2-year high.
Traders said European stock markets had been boosted by data
on Wednesday which showed that the economies of Germany and
France - the euro zone's two powerhouses - had grown faster than
expected in the second quarter.
"French GDP (gross domestic product) was better than
expected, and there is some talk of global money arriving in
Europe as Europe claws its way out of recession," said Rupert
Baker, a European equity sales executive at Mirabaud.
Cyrille Urfer, head of asset allocation at Swiss bank Gonet,
said he was sticking to an 'overweight' position on Europe
equities and would look to cash in profits on the U.S equity
market rally rather than the European one.
Despite this year's global equity rally, European equity
markets are still lagging the U.S stock markets which have hit
The FTSEurofirst 300 index is up around 9 percent since the
start of 2013, while the U.S Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500 indexes have risen nearly 20 percent.
"If we had to take profits at this stage, it would be more
in the U.S. rather than in Europe. We feel there is still more
juice left in Europe," said Urfer.