* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct in early trading
* Adecco and ProSieben rise after Q1 figures
* ECB seen keeping rates unchanged at 0.25 pct
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, May 8 European stock markets rose on
Thursday, lifted by reassuring business updates from some of the
region's top companies such as Adecco and by
better-than-expected Chinese trade figures.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which hit
a near 6-year high of 1,357.05 points earlier this month,
advanced by 0.4 percent to 1,350.61 points in early session
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
also rose by 0.5 percent to 3,174 points while Germany's DAX
progressed by 0.5 percent to 9,572.90 points.
Shares in Adecco, the world's largest staffing company and a
barometer of Europe's economic health, rose 3 percent after
Adecco said higher demand for its services in Germany and
Britain had led to an increase in revenues.
German media group ProSiebenSat.1 also
outperformed with a 4.4 percent rise after posting a 9.5 percent
increase in first-quarter core earnings.
Data on Thursday also showed that China's exports and
imports returned to slight growth in April, sending a positive
signal for the world's second-biggest economy after a
weaker-than-expected start to 2014.
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine, 50 percent of the
companies on the pan-European STOXX 600 index to have
reported first quarter earnings so far have beaten or met market
expectations with those results.
"Generally speaking, the first quarter results so far have
seemed pretty good," said Berkeley Futures associate director
ECB RATE DECISION
Investors were also focusing on the European Central Bank's
(ECB) interest rate decision later on Thursday.
The ECB was expected to take heart from signs of life in the
euro zone economy and keep interest rates unchanged at 0.25
percent, resisting pressure to act in the face of a stronger
euro currency and persistently low inflation.
UBS equity strategists said on Thursday they expected
European equities to outperform in May and beat the UK stock
market. "The region continues to benefit from a recovery in
growth particularly the peripheral countries, easing credit
spreads and subdued inflation," they wrote in a note.
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 Mark