* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 percent
* Firmer German, French growth data lifts sentiment
* ThyssenKrupp, Anglo American boosted by robust results
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Feb 14 European stocks advanced on
Friday, notching their seventh rise in eight sessions, as firmer
economic growth in Germany and France fuelled expectations of a
rebound in corporate profits in Europe this year.
The market has recovered third-quarters of its post emerging
markets sell-off, buoyed by signs of improvement in regional
economic growth, strong numbers from companies including
ThyssenKrupp and the prospect of a centre-left leader in Italy.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.1 percent at 1,327.23
points by 0909 GMT. The index has risen some 5 percent from an
early February low.
The French economy grew 0.3 percent in the final quarter of
2013, slightly beating expectations and boosted by corporate
investment, and German economic growth unexpectedly accelerated
to 0.4 percent on a rise in exports and capital investment, data
Meanwhile, Italy's economy grew marginally at the end of
last year for the first time since the middle of 2011, data
showed, confirming market expectations.
The broadly buoyant data overshadowed a surprise drop in
U.S. retail sales in January and data showing more Americans
filed for jobless benefits last week, though markets were
consoled by the temporary negative impact from adverse weather
German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp rose
2.7 percent, among the top risers on the FTSEurofirst 300
, after a smaller loss at its Brazilian steel mill
helped it post a better-than-expected quarterly operating
These and other upbeat results on Friday belied a lacklustre
showing in the current European quarterly earnings season.
Half way through, only 58 percent of companies have beaten
or met earnings expectations, while half have missed revenue
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.
Analysts are, however, confident of a pick-up in earnings
later in the year.
"We've got some better economic figures coming out, some
more revenue streams, some more jobs basically, not lots but
more than last year. That should mean that with companies lean
and mean, with margins high, that you get some decent earnings
growth," said Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas
Fortis Global Markets in Brussels.
Gijsels anticipated 10 percent growth in European earnings
over 2014, and a corresponding 10 percent rise in the market.
Mining stocks also made good ground, ahead 0.9
percent, in spite of mixed signals from inflation data out of
China, the world's top metals consumer.
Investors instead chose to focus on Anglo American's
forecast-beating increase in 2013 operating profit, which sent
its shares 1.1 percent higher, a day after sector peer Rio Tinto
unveiled a huge jump in profits.
Mining companies are recovering from a sharp decline in
2013, after a sector-wide drive to offset falling metals demand
with cuts in spending.
The sector has got off to a solid start this year, up more
than 6 percent against a rise of about 1 percent on the broader
STOXX Europe 600.
"It's not only the demand from China that counts, the
commodity prices that count - it's also the fact that all of
these companies overinvested in the good times and they are now
putting their houses in order," BNP Paribas Fortis Global
Markets' Gijsels said.
Italy's FTSE MIB outperformed the wider market, up
0.7 percent, after Prime Minister Enrico Letta said he would
tender his resignation on Friday after his Democratic Party (PD)
called for him to step aside to make way for a new government.
Letta's decision to quit came after the PD supported a call
by its 39-year-old leader Matteo Renzi for a more ambitious
government to pull Italy out of its economic slump.
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:
Today's European research round-up