* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 percent
* German Ifo eyed, due at 0800 GMT
* Norsk Hydro boosted by Q1 beat
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, April 24 European shares edged higher on
Wednesday, adding to the previous session's hefty gains, buoyed
by several solid earnings reports and continued expectations of
further monetary easing.
The FTSEurofirst 300 had risen 0.4 percent to
1,187.56 by 0735 GMT, having jumped 2.4 percent on Tuesday to
post its biggest gain since August 2012 after weak German data
raised hopes of a European Central Bank rate cut.
The German Ifo business climate indicator, due out at 0800
GMT, is expected to dip to 106.2 versus 106.7 in the previous
month, and a weak reading could further fuel ECB rate cut talk,
"I think (the market) will be choppy. Obviously we'll have
the Ifo - I'll be surprised if it doesn't come in below
expectations. If it does you're going to get all this rate cut
speculation," Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets, said.
Aluminium maker Norsk Hydro was a solid gainer
early on, ahead 2.7 percent after unveiling first-quarter core
earnings that beat expectations.
Out of the 14 percent of the STOXX Europe 600
companies that have reported first-quarter results so far, about
51 percent of them have met or beaten analysts' forecasts
according to Thomson Reuters StarMine Data.
The earnings season in the United States has got off to a
stronger start, with 74 percent of S&P 500 companies
meeting or beating expectations so far.
The euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 firmed
0.5 percent to 2,676.80 following a 3.1 percent advance on
Tuesday which saw it break above its 50 and 100-day moving
averages, leading analysts to adopt a more positive stance.
"I'm quite bullish about the STOXX50E," Craig Erlam, analyst
at Alpari, said.
"I think the next major target will be this year's highs
around 2,750, although we won't necessarily hit that this week.
Along the way, I expect the index to find resistance around
2,682, 2,692 and 2,717 (previous levels of support and