* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 percent
* Daimler boosted by Mercedes sales boost
* AkzoNobel, Capita and Telenor all rise after results
* ABB a laggard as power unit falters
By Alistair Smout
EDINBURGH, July 23 European stocks rose on
Wednesday on the back of generally strong earnings despite
investors' concerns over the possibility of fresh European Union
sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
German blue chip shares outperformed, gaining 0.5
percent, led higher by car and truck maker Daimler
after it posted earnings above expectations.
Daimler rose 2.2 percent, boosted by demand for new models
of its high-end Mercedes-Benz cars in countries such as China.
"Daimler's results read very well. Appetite for Western
brands, including Mercedes, is huge in China," said Joe Rundle,
head of trading at ETX Capital, who returned from a trip to
China last week.
"In China, every second car seemed to be a German car. You
want to be long (on) big car makers which are going to continue
to expand out there."
Daimler contributed more points than any other individual
stock to a 0.2 percent rise on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300
index, which stood at 1,376.98 points.
Paints and chemicals firm Akzo Nobel rose 4.3
percent after its own higher-than-expected second-quarter
earnings, while Telenor and Capita both gave
upbeat outlooks with their solid results.
Telecoms firm Telenor and outsourcer Capita rose 3.5 percent
and 2.7 percent respectively.
The reports continued a trend which has seen STOXX Europe
600 companies beat expectations by 4.9 percent on
aggregate so far this earnings season, according to Thomson
Reuters Starmine data.
Not all earnings news was positive. Swiss engineer ABB
was down 1.7 percent after it reported a
bigger-than-expected fall in second-quarter net profit, hit by a
weak performance in its power systems unit.
"Despite ABB consensus FY'14 EPS estimates having fallen 22
percent since January 2014, with another miss to consensus
expectations we would expect further mid-high single digit FY'14
EPS cuts to consensus," analysts at Espirito Sant wrote in a
Also prompting caution was the Ukraine crisis after the EU
raised the prospect of restricting Russian access to European
capital markets, defence and energy technology.
Stock markets have been under pressure since late last week,
when a Malaysian plane was downed over east Ukraine, in an
attack that the West has blamed on Russian-supported rebels.
"The market is worrying about a serious escalation, but I
believe there's a fairly small chance of that. With the earnings
being better, that's giving traders a reason to be positive
despite the uncertainty," Rundle said.
Elsewhere, focus was on the ongoing conflict in the Gaza
Strip, where Israeli forces pounded multiple sites and said it
was meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamist militants.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Gareth Jones)