* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct, sets fresh 2012 high
* Euro STOXX 50 also hits 2012 high, briefly breaches 2,610
* Bayer and EADS surge ahead
* GDF Suez slumps 12 pct after profit warning
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Dec 6 European stock markets hit fresh
2012 highs on Thursday, boosted by chemicals group Bayer
and defence firm EADS, and some traders eyed
more rallies after equity indexes broke key resistance levels.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up by
0.3 percent at 1,127.04 points by around midday, after reaching
an intraday peak of 1,132.79 points which was its best level for
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
also set a 2012 high by rising to an intraday peak of 2,617.83
points, although it later edged back to 2,594.52 points, up 0.1
percent on the day.
Technical analysts said the fact that the Euro STOXX had at
one stage managed to clear the 2,610 level pointed to more
potential rallies, provided it could close above that level.
"The potential for this symbolic formation which has been
building for about a year now extends out to next spring, and
could see the index climbing towards the 3,000 points zone, or
15 percent plus upside," said Societe Generale chartist Loic De
U.S. FISCAL FEARS LINGER
German company Bayer added the most points to the
FTSEurofirst 300 index, rising 4 percent to a new 2012 high of
73 euros after its Eylea eye product was submitted for European
Union marketing authorisation.
"The EU approval of the eye drug Eylea has definitely
supported the interest in the share, helping it to post strong
gains in today's session," said Gekko Markets sales trader Anita
"I think the fact that the price performance is on the
all-time high has attracted many buyers wanting to jump on the
train," she added.
EADS also gained 7.6 percent after its shareholders
agreed an overhaul of its ownership structure, with Bank of
America Merrill Lynch raising its rating on the stock to "buy"
However, French utility GDF Suez was the biggest
European blue-chip casualty, slumping by 12 percent after
warning of lower profits.
Some traders said they would be tempted to sell shares on
the back of rallies due to uncertainty over the outcome of U.S.
U.S. politicians remain in talks over trying to reach an
agreement over the "fiscal cliff" - a combination of government
spending cuts and tax rises due to be implemented under existing
law in early 2013 that may cut the federal budget deficit but
also tip the economy back into recession.
Central Markets senior broker Joe Neighbour said he would be
tempted to sell the Euro STOXX 50 index while it remained below
the 2,635 point level.
Tiverton Trading portfolio manager Luc Bocahut was more
positive and was considering going "long" on European equities
by betting on further gains.
He said pledges by the European Central Bank (ECB) for new
measures to fix the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis were
alleviating the region's problems, with the borrowing costs of
debt-ridden countries such as Spain and Italy falling.
"Going 'long' now may not be such a bad idea. The European
situation is less of a concern now."