* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.1 pct
* Charts show indexes have reached 'oversold' levels
* Mixed quarterly earnings keep investors on edge
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Feb 5 European stocks inched up in early
trade on Wednesday, halting a two-week selloff, but underlying
worries about global growth and emerging market currencies kept
investors on edge.
Swiss watch maker Swatch featured among the top
gainers, up 4.7 percent after posting a strong rise in 2013
profits and saying it expects healthy growth this year.
The overall earnings picture remained mixed, with Syngenta
falling 2.2 percent after the world's largest maker of
crop chemicals reported an 11 percent fall in profit for last
"Earnings growth in Europe has been negative over the last
two years. If earnings do not improve during the next months,
2014 will prove to be a difficult year for the stock market,"
said Koen De Leus, senior economist at KBC, in Brussels.
At 0836 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,274.34 points. The
benchmark index is still down 5.9 percent since hitting a peak
on Jan 21, its steepest pull-back in seven months.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
was up 0.1 percent at 2,964.58 points.
Technical charts showed both indexes reaching 'oversold'
levels after the two-week slump, with their relative strength
indexes (RSIs) approaching 30, which could limit losses in the
short term, Aurel BGC chartist Gerard Sagnier said.
"Indexes might start to stabilise after such a drop, but the
risk is still clearly that they fall back to the lows seen in
December," he said.
"However, there hasn't been any major signal of a
longer-term trend reversal, so the strategy is still to take
advantage of the pull-back to buy."
The FTSEurofirst 300 would need to fall by about a further 2
percent to reach its December low, and the Euro STOXX 50 by
about 1.5 percent.
Investors have been rattled by recent sharp swings in
emerging market assets, hammered by a reduction of stimulus from
the U.S. Federal Reserve as well as tepid manufacturing data
from China and the United States.
Market players will be reluctant to take new positions ahead
of the European Central Bank's monetary policy decision and
press conference on Thursday, and Friday's monthly U.S. job
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:
Today's European research round-up