* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct
* France's CAC underperforms after weak data
* Dovish Fed underpins sentiment
* SABMiller, Raiffeisen rally after results
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, May 22 European stocks edged higher on
Thursday, boosted by strong results from drinks group SAB
Miller, deal activity among tobacco companies and expectations
of further monetary support from the Fed.
Shares in SABMiller rose 3.7 percent after the
company behind Peroni beer reported a 1 percent rise in
full-year earnings, which traders said was better than the
market was expecting.
Raiffeisen Bank International jumped 3.5 percent
on Thursday after the bank posted first-quarter profit that
easily beat market expectations.
The stocks were the top risers on the pan-European
FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was up 0.2 percent at
1,367.24 points at 0737 GMT.
Around Europe, Germany's Dax was up 0.2 percent at
9,712.92 points while France's CAC-40 was a slight
underperformer, trading flat after a flash PMI report showed
French business activity unexpectedly shrank in May.
German PMI readings were mixed: services
expanded faster than expected but manufacturing growth slowed.
The indexes faced technical resistances near the multi-year
highs they reached last week, with investors reluctant to push
the market to new highs given the uncertain macroeconomic
"I expect the Dax to encounter resistance at 9,780 (a level
roughly corresponding to its intra-day high on May 13) and then
trade in a range," Farhan Ahmad, a trader at Tradenext, said.
In the U.S., minutes of the Federal Reserve's last meeting
reassured investors that policymakers would stick to their easy
monetary policy stance.
Sentiment on risk assets was boosted by a private survey
showing China's factory sector turned in its best performance in
five months in May. That confounded some of the more bearish
expectations for the world's second-biggest economy.
Mergers and acquisitions activity once again coloured
European trading, with British American Tobacco up 1.9
percent on news Reynolds, in which BAT has a 42 percent
stake, may buy Lorillard Inc.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Larry King)