* FTSEurofirst up 0.1 pct, Euro STOXX 50 down 0.5 pct * DAX rises on German economy boost and VW gains * Expectations of ECB stimulus still supporting equities * Vodafone up on Verizon Wireless deal prospects By Sudip Kar-Gupta LONDON, April 25 European shares edged up on Thursday, with the benchmark FTSEurofirst 300 index rising for a fifth straight session, helped by gains in car maker Volkswagen and telecoms group Vodafone. The index was up 0.1 percent at 1,192.95 points by mid-session trade and has now gained 5 percent since the start of 2013. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.5 percent to 2,689.62 points, but was supported by a slight rise in Germany's DAX equity index. German carmaker Volkswagen and an upgrade of the German government's growth forecast underpinned the DAX, which was up 0.1 percent at 7,764.60 points. Volkswagen shares jumped 1.4 percent after the company said it was hoping for a second-half recovery. JN Financial investment manager Ed Smyth said he had bought the DAX index earlier this month at 7,470 points on expectations it could rise to 7,800 points by the start of May. Traders and investors said that expectations of new stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB) to try and shore up the euro zone economy, such as a possible rate cut next week, were also supporting equities. "We think that you are not going to see what you have seen in previous years, where April has been the peak. This time around, equity levels will be supported very well," said Mislav Matejka, chief European equity strategist at JP Morgan. VODAFONE RISES Vodafone advanced 2.3 percent on fresh signs that U.S. partner Verizon may move to take full control of the Verizon Wireless venture it runs with Vodafone. Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters that Verizon had hired advisers to prepare a possible $100 billion cash and stock bid to take full control of Verizon Wireless from Vodafone. Vodafone's increase offset losses in shares of other major European companies after weak corporate results that led some investors to take a more cautious view on European equities. Spanish bank Santander dropped 4 percent to make it the worst-performing FTSEurofirst 300 stock after posting lower profits, while consumer products group Unilever fell 2.1 percent after posting weaker-than-forecast sales growth. "We feel inclined to temper our enthusiasm for European equities," said Ashish Misra, head of investment policy and research at Lloyds TSB Private Banking.