* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.4 pct
* Novartis and ASML raise outlooks
* Q2 European earnings so far seen as relatively positive
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, July 17 European shares edged up on
Wednesday, buoyed by upbeat earnings reports from major
companies which reassured some traders that the medium-term
upward trend for equity markets remained intact.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index edged up
0.2 percent to 1,193.76 points, recovering from a 0.7 percent
fall in the previous session. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro
STOXX 50 index rose 0.4 percent to 2,6776.89 points.
Swiss drugmaker Novartis raised its full-year
outlook, as did Dutch technology group ASML.
"On the whole, earnings season so far has been pretty good,"
said Berkeley Futures associate director Richard Griffiths.
While there have been some disappointing second-quarter
earnings reports, such as weak results from banking group
Swedbank on Tuesday, the majority of company results
so far have been positive for market sentiment.
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 63 percent of
companies on the pan-European STOXX 600 index, which
was up 0.2 percent at 295.76 points, have beaten or met market
forecasts with their second-quarter results so far.
CENTRAL BANK SUPPORT
However, many felt that more important for the direction of
equity markets was world central banks' continued support of the
global economy with injections of liquidity, along with proof of
improving company profits.
The FTSEurofirst 300, which has risen some 5 percent since
the start of 2013, hit a five-year high in late May of 1,258.09
points. It dropped to a 2013 low of 1,111.11 points in late June
on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve would scale back
stimulus measures but has since recovered as central banks have
sought to reassure their support will continue.
Berkeley Futures' Griffiths felt short-term moves higher
would be relatively limited as investors await fresh clues on
future central bank policy.
Griffiths saw Germany's DAX, which was up 0.2
percent at 8,216.61 points, hitting resistance to any near-term
moves higher around the 8,250-8,300 point level.
Natixis' technical strategist Ouri Mimran saw the STOXX 600
index hitting resistance around the 298.90 point level but felt
that if it broke above this, it could advance to 311 points.