* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.48 points at 1,209.48
* Mobistar falls after it slashes forecasts
* UBS, Julius Baer, Philips all beat forecasts
By David Brett
LONDON, July 22 European shares were broadly
unchanged by midday on Thursday as mixed company earnings halted
the index's march back towards five-year highs.
Belgian telecoms operator Mobistar slumped 27.9
percent, having cut its revenue and profit forecasts for this
year and suspended its dividend after a price war caused
earnings to tumble in the second quarter.
Telecoms were down 0.5 percent.
Elsewhere there was more upbeat news, with Swiss private
bank Julius Baer adding 5.6 percent after first-half
profits beat estimates.
Dutch healthcare, lighting and consumer appliances group
Philips climbed 3.9 percent after reporting strong
Swiss lender UBS added 3.4 percent after another
"Certainly from core Europe and the German-centric
perspective things are starting to look better, but the really
upbeat part of that earnings story is probably running ahead of
itself," Investec economist Victoria Clarke said.
"The risk is the macro backdrop doesn't come through quite
as strong as some of the companies are looking at, and that
could be a negative factor for them."
The FTSEurofirst 300 inched up 0.48 points to
1,209.48 by 1030 GMT.
But with the index up around 8.7 percent since June lows and
heading back towards five-year highs of around 1,260 hit in May,
European stocks now trade on a 12-month forward
price-to-earnings valuations of 12.5 times, according to
Datastream. That is above a 10-year average of 12.1 times and
suggests corporate earnings will need to pick up to justify the
In the early stages of the European quarterly earnings
season, 51 percent of companies that have reported results have
either met or beaten expectations, although year-on-year
second-quarter growth has contracted by 4 percent, according to
Thomson Reuters Starmine data, reflecting a tough economic
In the short-term, however, the market remains well
supported from a technical point of view.
Steve Ruffley, chief market strategist at InterTrader, said
last week's support of 2,662 on the euro zone's blue chip index
"The next upside target is 2,753. If the Stoxx is to
continue higher then we need to see the same scenario, that key
resistance is broken and then used as support. If this is the
case then the market has no choice but to test 2,822," he said.