LONDON Jan 17 European shares edged higher in
early trading on Friday after losses in the previous session,
although disappointing earnings and profit warnings from some
major companies made the market vulnerable to profit-taking.
A day after disappointing results from U.S. major companies
like Intel, Goldman Sachs and Citi on
Thursday, oil major Royal Dutch Shell said its
fourth-quarter figures were expected to be significantly lower
than recent levels of profitability.
Shell shares fell 3.6 percent, pushing the European oil and
gas index 1.3 lower. Energy shares were the biggest
sectoral decliners in Europe.
"The news from Shell clearly will not help confidence. While
investors have been aware of the group's challenges, the degree
and range of difficulties provide growing concern for a core
market investment," Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves
Investors' focus has shifted to General Electric and
Morgan Stanley, which are due to release their earnings
later in the day. They will also scrutinise U.S. data on housing
starts, industrial output and University of Michigan's consumer
sentiment. In the UK, focus will be on retail sales data.
At 0810 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
was up 0.2 percent at 1,340.48 points. It closed 0.2
percent lower in the previous session, having climbed 1 percent
to a 5-1/2-year high on Wednesday.