PARIS Feb 21 European shares rose in early
trade on Friday, with France's CAC 40 hitting a 5 1/2
year high, mirroring a rally on Wall Street where robust U.S.
factory activity data eclipsed recent soft economic figures.
At 0804 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was up 0.5 percent at 1,345.01 points. France's
CAC 40 gained 0.3 percent to 4,368.50, breaking above strong
resistance and hitting a level not seen since 2008.
Wall Street's S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent on Thursday,
lifted by Markit's preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing
Managers Index, which shows factory activity accelerated at its
fastest pace in nearly four years in February, a bullish
economic indicator following a string of weaker-than-expected
Bucking the trend on Friday, Europe's No. 2 insurer AXA
fell 1.1 percent after posting a lower-than-expected
quarterly profit, while Kering, owner of the Yves
Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Gucci brands, dropped 0.9
percent after reporting a sharply lower full-year profit.