* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct, Euro STOXX 50 flat
* Fed's Yellen soothes QE concerns
* Vivendi rises after Q3 result
* Italian stocks fall on EU Commission budget warnings
By Julia Fioretti
LONDON, Nov 15 Prospects of a further dose of
loose central bank policies kept European shares around
five-year highs on Friday, with gains in Vivendi after
an earnings beat buoying media stocks.
The French media and telecoms conglomerate rose 3 percent to
the top of the FTSEurofirst 300's and was tipped to
rise further. "I would certainly consider buying Vivendi. I see
between 6 to 8 percent upside left in it," said JNF Capital
investment advisor Edward Smyth.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.3
percent at 1,297.85 points, moving closer to the five-year high
of 1,316.42 points reached on Nov. 7. It also secured a sixth
straight week of gains, albeit the smallest during that run.
European equities have been supported by loose monetary
policies across the developed world, with the Euro STOXX 50
climbing 17 percent since the start of 2013 and the
FTSEurofirst 300 14 percent.
U.S. Federal Reserve chairman-designate, Janet Yellen, on
Thursday defended the central bank's $85 billion-a-month
bond-buying programme, which has stoked investor demand for
riskier assets such as equities.
But investors must also weigh the benefits of a cheap flow
of dollars against a stream of bleak economic news from the euro
The European Central Bank last week cut interest rates to a
record low of 0.25 percent to stave off deflationary pressures
and stimulate growth, and the third quarter earnings season has
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 49 percent of
companies on the pan-European STOXX 600 index have
missed expectations at the profit level, while around two-thirds
have fallen short of revenue forecasts.
"Most of what those companies are suffering from is a pure
currency factor, we see very few instances where they are
suffering a significant drop in their orders," said Pierre-Yves
Gauthier, co-founder and head of research at Alpha Value.
"Most of the companies that have been reporting seem to
confirm one way or another that they do not need to change that
much in 2013. We don't see a crisis looming in terms of
confidence in equities on the basis of Q3," he said, adding the
equity market could gain another 20 percent over the next year.
Italian stocks, however, fell, while the country's
bond yields edged higher, with traders citing profit taking
after it was warned by the EU Commission that its draft budget
for next year risked breaking the rules, bringing the focus back
on to the country's high debt level.
That weighed on the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50
index, which was flat at 3,054.53.
Low-cost telecoms operator Iliad tumbled 4.9
percent, making it the biggest loser on the market, after it
reported slow customer growth amidst tough price competition.