* FTSEurofirst 300 gains 0.6 percent
* Hexagon shares jump after results
* Autos race higher, BMW up on record sales
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Feb 11 European shares climbed to a
two-week high on Tuesday, with positive news from companies like
BMW and Hexagon boosting sentiment ahead of the U.S. Federal
Reserve chair's testimony, which is likely to be dovish.
Measurement technology group Hexagon rose 4.7
percent to the top of pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
after posting Q4 sales and operating profit in line
with expectations and saying its sales should grow at least 5
percent in 2014.
The European auto sector raced higher, with the sector index
rising 1.4 percent. It was helped by a 1.7 percent rise
in BMW after the luxury automaker said its January vehicle sales
rose to a record high.
"The market is supported by some positive corporate news.
Equities will further react positively if we get some more
positive news on earnings, which has been disappointing," said
Daniel McCormack, strategist with Macquarie.
He said the market was also likely to get some help from
Janet Yellen when she testifies to lawmakers for the first time
as head of the Federal Reserve.
"I suspect that she will talk in quite dovish manner,
particularly given the very recent data flows which has been on
the weaker side," McCormack said. "That will also probably
support the market."
At 0859 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was up 0.6 percent at 1,309.24 points after
climbing to its highest since late January in a fifth straight
session of gains.
UK retailers were helped by a survey showing British retail
sales rebounded last month after a weak December to record their
strongest annual growth since April 2011.
Debenhams rose 2.6 percent, Kingfisher was
up 2.4 percent and Home Retail added 3.6 percent.
Among sharp movers, L'Oreal gained 2.5 percent
after saying its fourth quarter underlying sales growth improved
more than expected. It also announced it would buy 8 percent of
its capital for 6.5 billion euros ($9 billion) from Swiss
consumer goods group Nestle, boosting the group's
earnings per share by more than 5 percent.
Its shares later gave up gains after hitting an eight-month
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:
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