* FTSEurofirst 300 index ends up 0.3 pct
* Airbus, ThyssenKrupp help industrial shares
* Italian stocks face selling pressure
By Atul Prakash and Blaise Robinson
LONDON, May 13 European equities ended higher on
Tuesday, with some benchmarks hitting multi-year highs following
upbeat company results from major companies such as aerospace
giant Airbus and steelmaker ThyssenKrupp.
Airbus, the world's second-largest aerospace group, surged
6.2 percent after reporting better-than-expected profits and
saying its new A350 jet was "progressing towards certification"
in time for first delivery by the end of the year. It was the
top gainer on the FTSEurofirst 300.
ThyssenKrupp, Germany's biggest steelmaker, rose
4.1 percent after posting its first quarterly net profit in two
years - beating analyst estimates - and raising its forecast for
full-year operating profit.
"The current environment is pretty good for industrials and
their shares are likely to perform well going forward," said
Christian Stocker, equity strategist at UniCredit in Munich.
"We are overweight (in) the sector as capital expenditure by
industrial companies in Europe is increasing. Recent earnings
results have also reflected that trend."
Airbus and ThyssenKrupp helped the STOXX Europe 600
industrial goods and services sector to advance 0.9
percent, the top sectoral gainer in Europe.
Roughly three quarters of the way into the European earnings
season, STOXX 600 firms have posted on average a 2.5
percent rise in profits and a 0.7 percent rise in revenues,
according to data from StarMine. That has fuelled hopes of a
long-awaited rebound in corporate profits this year.
"This first-quarter earnings season reflects the recovery in
the macroeconomic landscape and, although it's moderate, the
negative currency impact seems lower than in the previous
quarter," said Joffrey Ouafqa, a fund manager at Convictions AM.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares
ended 0.3 percent higher at 1,368.75 points after hitting an
intra-day peak of 1,369.04, a level not seen since May 2008. The
UK's FTSE 100 scaled a 14-year high, while France's CAC
40 touched a near six-year high.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 rose 0.2
percent to 3,211.78 points, with charts suggesting it had
potential to set new highs in the near term.
"After another week of consolidation, Europe is moving into
a make or break setup this week. The FTSE 100, the Euro
STOXX and several other markets are testing their multi-month
breakout resistance," UBS technical analyst Michael Riesner said
in a note.
"With a break of 3,239, the Euro STOXX 50 would be on track
with our summer target projection at 3,320 to 3,350."
Traders said sentiment was also lifted by reports that the
Bundesbank was ready to support European Central Bank policy
action if it was needed.
Despite the overall rally on Tuesday, investors booked
profits on shares in some peripheral euro zone markets such as
Italy, which has outperformed strongly this year.
Italy's FTSE MIB fell 1.1 percent. However, the
index is still up 12 percent so far this year, against the
FTSEurofirst 300, which is up about 4 percent.
"It's been an amazing run so far this year for Italian
stocks. But now there are worries in Italy about potential
changes to the level of taxation on capital gains and a lot of
people are quietly booking profits just in case, so the rally
might stall," said Riccardo Designori, market analyst at Brown
Editore in Milan.
Among individual movers, Telecom Italia fell 5.2
percent after posting an 8.4 percent fall in first-quarter core
profit to reflect declining sales in Italy and a weaker currency
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today's European research round-up
(Editing by Mark Heinrich)