* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct
* Daimler, Akzo rise after forecast-beating results
* Investors keeping wary eye on Ukraine crisis
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, July 23 Higher profits at carmaker
Daimler and chemicals group Akzo Nobel
lifted European shares on Wednesday, offsetting concerns about
tighter Western sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which has
fallen back from 6-1/2 year highs over the last month, was up by
0.1 percent at 1,375.59 points going into the close of the
Akzo Nobel advanced by 4.5 percent after posting
higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings, boosting the
shares of rival Bayer which advanced 0.8 percent.
The STOXX Europe 600 Automobiles Index rose by 0.4
percent as Daimler posted earnings above expectations, following
strong demand for new models of its high-end Mercedes-Benz cars
in countries such as China.
"The results season so far has not been too bad," said
Mirabaud Securities' European equity sales executive Rupert
The FTSEurofirst 300 remains some 1.4 percent below its June
and July peaks, which marked its highest level in six-and-a-half
The index has retreated over the last week after a Malaysian
passenger plane was shot down on July 17 over rebel-held
territory in eastern Ukraine, where Kiev is struggling to quell
a pro-Russian separatist rebellion, killing 298 people.
Western powers have accused pro-Russia rebels of having shot
down the plane by mistake and the European Union has raised the
prospect of restricting Russian access to European capital
markets, defence and energy technology.
However, stock markets have not sold off too aggressively in
the wake of the crisis between Ukraine and Russia.
Mirabaud Securities' Baker said China was a more important
market for German carmakers than Russia.
Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said that while
many investors remained concerned about the situation in
Ukraine, the majority only saw a small risk of it leading to a
more serious conflict between the West and Russia.
Andrew Arbuthnott, head of large-cap European equities at
Pioneer Investments, said that while uncertainty over Ukraine
could result in more stock market volatility, equities should
still offer good returns for investors this year.
"Overall, we believe 2014 can be another positive total
return year for the European market, but the volatility
associated with those market returns from here is likely to be
higher," he said.
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 Alistair Smout; Editing by Gareth