* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct
* Index lost 3.8 pct in 4 days, hit weakest since early Jan
* EuroSTOXX 50 recovers from support at 200-day MA
* Sodexo, Nestle hurt by earnings
By Toni Vorobyova
LONDON, April 18 European shares edged higher on
Thursday, with some investors seeing value after the market's
worst four-day fall in nine months, although a crop of weak
earnings and global growth concerns kept a lid on gains.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.1 percent at 1,149.24 points
, calmer after poise after hitting its lowest intra-day
level since Jan. 2 at 1,144.13 on Wednesday.
The pan-European index has lost 3.8 percent since last
Thursday's close - its worst four day run since July 2012. It is
now down around 5.1 percent from the 4-1/2 year peaks hit last
"It seems that there is some (buying) in the European
session today but it could still change as we have some
important (economic) figures coming from the U.S. and recent
U.S. data has disappointed with regards to expectations," said
Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank.
He was referring to weekly jobless numbers and the
Philadelphia Fed sentiment indexes.
GlaxoSmithKline added 2.9 percent after an advisory
panel recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) approves an experimental treatment for smoking-related
lung damage, which GSK makes together with Theravance.
The news prompted several brokerages to
raise price targets on the British firm.
Overall, though, the corporate news flow was more mixed,
with the earnings season delivery a string of disappointments.
French catering group Sodexo led the losers, down 6.7
percent, after reporting a below forecast first half operating
profit, while heavyweight Swiss-listed
food giant Nestle fell 1.4 percent after undershooting
on quarterly sales.
Dutch paints and chemicals group AkzoNobel,
meanwhile, managed to meet earnings expectations but its shares
still dropped 4.3 percent as the company said it saw no
improvement in the business environment.
Overall, STOXX Europe 600 companies are set to
undershoot first quarter earnings expectations by 3.9 percent,
according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
With fundamentals looking weak, technical charts offered
some support to the main European indexes, although with the
scope for further weakness.
The EuroSTOXX 50 benchmark of euro zone blue chips added 0.6
percent to 2,567.86 points after managing to find strong
technical support around the 200-day moving average on
Wednesday, and to close above the 61.8 percent Fibonacci
retracement of its November to January rally.
"For now, there is a chance that we stay between 100- and
200-day moving average and see some stabilisation. But it looks
like this consolidation isn't over," said Petra Kerssenbrock,
technical analyst at Commerzbank.
"There are a number of companies that are already below
(200-day moving averages) and if it were to expand further then
the next level would be something like 2,500 ... which is also a
big psychological level."