* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct, around 1 pct off near 6-year
* Investors respond to dovish signs from Fed minutes
* LVMH surges on fashion and leather division beat
* Weak China trade data could limit market gains
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, April 10 European shares rose on
Thursday after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest
policy meeting suggested the central bank would be less inclined
than anticipated to raise interest rates.
LVMH surged 3.9 percent, the top blue-chip gainer
across Europe, after the world's biggest luxury group said sales
at its fashion and leather division rose 9 percent, beating
Peers Kering - which owns Gucci - and Christian
Dior rode on its coattails, advancing 3.5 percent and
3.3 percent respectively, the second and third top risers.
Trading volume in LVMH was robust, at around three quarters
of its 90-day daily average, against the FTSEurofirst 300 on
almost a fifth of its average.
The Fed minutes had fuelled a rally on Wall Street and
weighed on the dollar. The market pushed out expectations of a
first Fed rate hike by about six weeks, to July 2015, trading in
interest-rate futures showed.
"This does continue to make me believe that equities are the
best play in town," said Lex van Dam, hedge fund manager at
The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.4 percent at 1,343.63
points by 0757 GMT, building on a 0.4 percent rise on Wednesday
when concerns about valuations, which triggered a steep sell-off
earlier in the week, started to ease.
The gains leave the index around 1 percent off near six-year
highs hit on Friday. The Euro STOXX 50 was up 0.3
percent at 3,191.38 points. It is just 1.5 percent below 5-1/2
year highs reached on Friday.
The STOXX 50 has found strong support over the last couple
of days just beneath 3,180, a previous level of resistance.
Alpari analyst Craig Erlam said this suggests that the
pull-back seen earlier this week "was just a shallow correction
and the uptrend will resume", though added that Friday's high of
3,239 will need to be broken in order to confirm this.
Above this, he targets 3,277, followed by 3,329.
Any market advance, however, could be limited by data
showing China's exports unexpectedly fell for the second
straight month in March and import growth dropped sharply,
adding to worries about slowing growth in the world's
"My biggest concern remains China and that's really borne
out by this morning's trade data... that's raising expectations
that China will go further with its stimulus package, but I'm
not sure how much room they've got to do that," CMC Markets
senior market analyst Michael Hewson said.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by John