* FTSEurofirst 300 closes up 0.2 pct after steep fall on Wed
* InBev jumps 5.4 percent after posting strong results
* U.S. jobless data limits gains
By Brian Gorman
LONDON, Aug 12 European shares edged higher on
Thursday, with brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR) boosted by a
forecast-beating profit and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) rising on a
Gains were limited by an unexpected rise in U.S. jobless
claims, and the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European
shares rose 0.2 percent to close at 1,042.77 points after
falling 2 percent to a three-week closing low on Wednesday.
The European benchmark index is up 61 percent from its
lifetime low of March 9, 2009, but is down 0.3 percent for 2010,
partly on worries about the strength of the recovery.
AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, led the market higher,
rising 5.4 percent after quarterly profit came in above
expectations, helped by good weather and strong beer sales in
Peers SABMiller SAB.L and Heineken (HEIN.AS) rose 1.7
percent and 2.3 percent respectively.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) shares rose 2.6 percent after U.S.
advisers recommended approval of Potiga, a new epilepsy drug
developed with Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX.N).
But there was also bad news for Glaxo just before the close
of the market. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said its
anti-seizure drug Lamictal can cause aseptic meningitis.
Other drug company shares and telecom shares rose as this
week's slide in equities pushed investors towards defensive
sectors. Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) rose 0.9 percent; Deutsche
Telekom (DTEGn.DE) rose 2.6 percent.
The slight recovery "is not surprising given the sell-off
yesterday," said Colin McLean, managing director at fund manager
SVM in Edinburgh. "But there is still some nervousness."
Across Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE ended the day up
0.4 percent, while Germany's DAX .GDAXI and France's CAC 40
.FCHI fell 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.
Wall Street was lower around the time European bourses
closed. The Dow Jones .DJI, S&P 500 .SPX and Nasdaq
Composite .IXIC were down 0.3-0.7 percent.
The number of people filing new claims for unemployment
insurance in the United States rose in the latest week to its
highest level in close to six months, a fresh signal of a weak
jobs market. [ID:nN11227633]
Also hitting sentiment, especially for technology shares,
U.S. networking giant Cisco (CSCO.O) forecast revenue that was
below Wall Street's targets. Cisco fell 9.8 percent.
German government bond (Bund) futures hit a record high and
the 10-year Bund yield hit an all-time low after the downbeat
U.S. jobless data. The yield spread between Spanish government
debt and Bunds, the currency bloc's benchmark, widened.
"With company results out the way, the market is starting to
look at the European sovereign debt position again - we have
seen spreads widen. That could push European financials a bit
further down," said SVM's McLean, adding equity valuations were
attractive and fund managers' cash levels are high.
Analysts said the equity market will remain choppy this
month with many people were away from trading desks.
"One of the issues at the moment is clearly the markets are
relatively thin. It is holiday season so it is not taking a
great deal to push prices around quite significantly," said Ian
Richards, European equity strategist at RBS.
Among other shares, India-focused Miner Vedanta Resources
(VED.L) fell 7.5 percent as analysts questioned the logic of its
interest in buying a stake in oil company Cairn India (CAIL.BO).
On the economic front, figures showed euro zone industrial
production declined marginally in June, falling short of
forecasts and indicating the currency zone is struggling to make
its economic recovery stick. [ID:nBRQ009940]
Greece's economy shrank more than expected in the second
quarter and unemployment climbed to 12 percent, reflecting the
pain of austerity measures agreed with lenders to overcome the
country's financing crisis. [ID:nLDE67B17N]
(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Dan Lalor)