* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 percent
* Telecom Italia climbs on bid news
* Publicis rises, upbeat on October
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Nov 12 European shares managed small
gains on Monday, in choppy trade, as investors took some
encouragement from robust Chinese economic data but remained
concerned over the euro zone and the looming "fiscal cliff"
budget battle faced by U.S. politicians.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.1 percent at 1,097.95
by 1208 GMT, steadying after last week's 1.6 percent drop.
Although Greece approved a tough 2013 budget over the
weekend, euro zone finance ministers are not now expected to
release a new loan tranche to the country on Monday as there is
no agreement yet on how to make its debt sustainable.
But investors took heart from numbers out of China showing
export growth climbed to a five-month high above 11 percent,
beating expectations and adding to recent data suggesting the
country's seven straight quarters of slowing growth have ended.
But U.S. president Barack Obama's election win has left the
market to focus on the U.S. fiscal cliff - the $600 billion of
automatic spending cuts and tax hikes which are set to take
effect at the start of 2013 if politicians cannot agree to
compromise on the federal budget before then.
"There are still some big macro issues out there ... but we
continue to believe in the long-term positive fundamentals
revolving around equity markets," said Henk Potts, market
strategist at Barclays.
He perceives the fiscal cliff as a "headwind rather than a
reversal of the U.S. economy", and that while Greece has also
recently come into focus, it is no longer at the heart of the
sovereign debt crisis.
Among the risers, Telecom Italia rose to the top
of the FTSEurofirst 300 leader board, up 5.7 percent in robust
volume, after Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris offered to buy
a stake in Italy's largest telecoms company.
Both the Wall Street Journal and Italy's Corriere della Sera
newspaper said Sawiris was prepared to invest up to 5 billion
euros ($6.4 billion) in the company.
Trading volume in Telecom Italia stood at 230 percent of its
90-day daily average, against the FTSEurofirst 300 on just 37
Elsewhere, French advertising group Publicis added
2.8 percent after saying demand for advertising rebounded in
October. London-listed peer WPP was boosted by the news,
climbing 1.2 percent.
Aerospace group Cobham was a big faller in London,
off 7.7 percent, after the company warned its 2013 sales were
set to fall due to growing pressure on U.S. defence budgets.
Third-quarter results overall have proved mixed, with 43
percent of European companies missing earnings expectations so
far, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.
"If this continues it could well mean that the highs for
equities for this year are in and the usual year-end rally won't
happen in 2012," said Lex van Dam, hedge fund manager at
Hampstead Capital, which manages around $500 million of assets.