* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct
* SocGen, Total, Heineken all gain after company reports
* Broader market lifted by good China trade data
* Debt ceiling relief in the U.S., Yellen testimony supports
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Feb 12 One of Europe's top regional
indexes extended its best winning streak of the year on
Wednesday, buoyed by good earnings and bullish news from China
and the United States to rise for a sixth straight session.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.3
percent to 1,321.29 at 0830 GMT, taking gains over the last six
sessions to 4 percent as the index continued its bounce from
6-week lows made earlier in the month.
In a heavy day for earnings reports, Societe Generale
led gainers, up 3.9 percent after saying it would use
a swing to profit in the fourth quarter to return more capital
to shareholders in 2014.
"SocGen reported a good, solid set of numbers... There's
nothing not to like in SocGen," said Toby Campbell-Gray, head of
trading at Tavira Securities, adding that the return to profit
and higher dividend were highlights.
Adding the most points to the index were French oil and gas
firm Total, also benefiting after results from a
decision to raise its dividend.
Heineken rose 2.8 percent after its own results.
Although profits were in-line with expectations, the brewer said
it saw a return to revenue growth in 2014 after a tough year
last year, and analysts at Liberum Capita said the results
slightly beat expectations on the sales front.
Only three sectors were in negative territory, after
sentiment to riskier assets was lifted by good trade data from
China and a strong session on Wall Street.
China surprised markets with a thumping trade performance in
January as import growth hit a six-month high and the value of
exports rose 10.6 percent, drawing some scepticism about the
data but still allaying fears of a deepening economic malaise.
"On the China figures, the export number is so far above
consensus you have to question it," Darren Sinden, trader at
Titan Investment Partners, said.
"Oil imports number was up sharply too which could imply
increasing growth but I think we will need to see confirmation
before jumping to that conclusion."
U.S. stocks had risen for a fourth straight session on
Tuesday as Congress agreed to advance legislation extending U.S.
borrowing authority, and the Federal Reserve's new chief held
off from making any changes to its schedule for trimming
"Yellen didn't rock the boat but she didn't say anything
that was particularly new," Sinden said, who also cautioned that
the bounce from the debt deal may not last long.
"Despite the relief that an agreement was reached and more
brinkmanship and possible default was avoided, all they have
done is agree to borrow more, not set any plans to reduce
debt... which will surely need to be addressed."
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:
Today's European research round-up