* FTSEurofirst 300, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.2 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, although
concerns about global growth and emerging market currencies kept
investors on edge.
At 1149 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,273.42 points, taking a
breather following a 6 percent slide in the past two weeks.
The selloff - the index's sharpest retreat in seven months -
was spurred by jitters over the impact of reduced stimulus from
the U.S. Federal Reserve on emerging market assets as well as
tepid U.S. and Chinese manufacturing data.
Technical charts showed the FTSEurofirst reaching 'oversold'
levels after the two-week slump, with its relative strength
indexes (RSIs) approaching 30.
"Technically, the market is clearly 'oversold', and
investors should be rushing in. But the problem is: the global
economic recovery that everyone was betting on just a few weeks
ago doesn't seem to be as smooth as expected," said Jeanne
Asseraf-Bitton, head of global cross-asset Research at Lyxor
"This year will be a year of transition from a
liquidity-driven market to one driven by fundamentals. But with
question marks now on the outlook for growth, and with a bit
less liquidity, the road could be bumpy."
Investors were reluctant to take new positions before the
European Central Bank's monetary policy decision and news
conference on Thursday, and Friday's monthly U.S. job data.
According to a Reuters' poll of economists, nonfarm payrolls
are expected to have increased by 185,000 last month, bouncing
back from a three-year low in January, which could ease
investors' worries about the pace of economic growth in the
world's biggest economy.
Around Europe, UK's FTSE 100 index was up 0.2
percent, Germany's DAX index down 0.04 percent, and
France's CAC 40 up 0.3 percent. The euro zone's
blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.2 percent.
Swiss watch maker Swatch featured among the top
gainers, up 4.2 percent after posting a strong rise in 2013
profits and saying it expected healthy growth this year.
The overall earnings picture remained mixed, however, with
Syngenta falling 4.2 percent after the world's largest
maker of crop chemicals reported a drop in profit for last year.
Unibail-Rodamco fell 2.1 percent after Europe's
largest property group's profit outlook disappointed investors.
with its medium-term profit outlook.
"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.
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:
Today's European research round-up