* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct, 1 pct off highest in almost 6
* LVMH Q1 sales give luxury goods sector a boost
* M&S shares rise after trading update, then fall back
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, April 10 European shares inched higher
on Thursday after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest
policy meeting suggested it would be less inclined than
anticipated to raise interest rates.
Luxury goods makers surged as Louis Vuitton owner LVMH
posted better-than-expected quarterly sales in a key
division, easing concerns over the potential impact of turmoil
in emerging markets.
"(LVMH's) trading statement highlights further acceleration
in Fashion & Leather/Vuitton, a very positive outcome in a
context of weak trends as seen or expected at soft luxury peers
- Prada, Gucci brand, Hugo Boss, Tod's. This should be
sufficient to support the shares near-term," Citi analysts wrote
in a note.
Shares in LVMH rose 4 percent, Gucci owner Kering
was up 2.1 percent, Christian Dior advanced 2.7
percent, while Richemont progressed by 1.8 percent.
The Fed minutes had fuelled a rally on Wall Street. The
market pushed out expectations of a first Fed rate hike by about
six weeks, to July 2015, trading in interest-rate futures
"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 0.1 percent at 1,339.87
points by 1138 GMT, in choppy trade which saw the index swing
between 1,329-1,345. Traders pinned earlier weakness on a big
sale of Euro STOXX 50 futures.
The index gains built 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. It is now around 1 percent
off near six-year highs hit on Friday.
The Euro STOXX 50 was flat at 3,183.33 points.
It is just 1.7 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.
Marks & Spencer bucked the firmer market trend,
shedding 1.6 percent to reflect concerns about profit margins
and disappointment that Chief Executive Marc Bolland said
investors would have to wait until 2013-14 results are published
on May 20 for any strategic update.
Shares in the British retailer rose as much as 3.3 percent
in early trading after it said clothing sales at stores open
over a year increased 0.6 percent in the 13 weeks to March 29.
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 Hugh