* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 percent, hits 6-year high
* Traders cite report Bundesbank would back new ECB measures
* Profit-taking hits peripheral stocks after outperformance
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, May 13 European stocks rose on Tuesday,
with a number of benchmarks hitting multi-year highs, boosted by
upbeat company results and a report saying Germany's central
bank is ready to back new stimulus measures from the European
Airbus Group surged 6.7 percent in a relief rally
after it reported better-than-expected profits and said its
latest jetliner, the A350, was "progressing towards
certification" in time for first delivery by the end of the
Shares in ThyssenKrupp also surged, up 4.4 percent
after the German steelmaker posted its first quarterly net
profit in two years, beating analyst estimates, and raised its
forecast for full-year operating profit.
Roughly three quarters of the way into the European earnings
season, STOXX 600 companies have posted on average a
2.5 percent rise in profits and a 0.7 percent rise in revenues,
according to data from Thomson Reuters StarMine, fuelling hopes
of a long-awaited rebound in corporate profits this year.
"This first-quarter earnings season reflects the recovery in
the macroeconomic landscape and, although it's moderate, the
negative currency impact seems lower than in the previous
quarter," said Joffrey Ouafqa, fund manager at Convictions AM,
"If the macro recovery is confirmed, company results and
share prices will follow. That's what the market needs at this
point because stocks are trading at fair value now."
At 1052 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,367.17 points, a level
not seen since May 2008, while the UK's FTSE 100 hit a
Traders said market sentiment was in part lifted by a report
from Dow Jones saying Germany's Bundesbank would back a rate
cut, if needed, by the European Central Bank, as well as other
measures such as negative rates on bank deposits and purchases
of packaged bank loans to keep inflation from staying too low.
PROFIT-TAKING IN PERIPHERY
Despite the overall rally on Tuesday, investors booked
profits on shares in peripheral euro zone markets such as Italy,
Portugal and Ireland following a strong outperformance since the
start of the year.
Milan's FTSE MIB was down 0.5 percent and
Portugal's PSI 20 was down 0.8 percent. The two indexes
are still up 13 percent and 12 percent year-to-date
respectively, strongly outpacing the FTSEurofirst 300, up 3.8
percent over the same period.
"It's been an amazing run so far this year for Italian
stocks," said Riccardo Designori, market analyst at Brown
Editore, in Milan.
"But now, there are worries in Italy about potential changes
to the level of taxation on capital gains and a lot of people
are quietly booking profits just in case, so the rally might
stall," he said.
Also losing ground on Tuesday, shares in Credit Suisse
dropped 2.2 percent after sources told Reuters that
New York state's banking regulator is seeking hundreds of
millions of dollars from the Swiss lender in its probe of
potential tax evasion. This could push an eventual settlement
with U.S. authorities to more than $2 billion.
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 Alexandre Boksenbaum-Granier; Editing
by Gareth Jones)