* FTSEurofirst 300, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.2 pct
* Charts show indexes have reached ‘oversold’ levels
* Mixed quarterly earnings keep investors on edge
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Feb 5 (Reuters) - European stocks inched up in early trade on Wednesday, halting a two-week selloff, although concerns about global growth and emerging market currencies kept investors on edge.
At 1149 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,273.42 points, taking a breather following a 6 percent slide in the past two weeks.
The selloff - the index’s sharpest retreat in seven months - was spurred by jitters over the impact of reduced stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve on emerging market assets as well as tepid U.S. and Chinese manufacturing data.
Technical charts showed the FTSEurofirst reaching ‘oversold’ levels after the two-week slump, with its relative strength indexes (RSIs) approaching 30.
“Technically, the market is clearly ‘oversold’, and investors should be rushing in. But the problem is: the global economic recovery that everyone was betting on just a few weeks ago doesn’t seem to be as smooth as expected,” said Jeanne Asseraf-Bitton, head of global cross-asset Research at Lyxor Asset Management.
“This year will be a year of transition from a liquidity-driven market to one driven by fundamentals. But with question marks now on the outlook for growth, and with a bit less liquidity, the road could be bumpy.”
Investors were reluctant to take new positions before the European Central Bank’s monetary policy decision and news conference on Thursday, and Friday’s monthly U.S. job data.
According to a Reuters’ poll of economists, nonfarm payrolls are expected to have increased by 185,000 last month, bouncing back from a three-year low in January, which could ease investors’ worries about the pace of economic growth in the world’s biggest economy.
Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.2 percent, Germany’s DAX index down 0.04 percent, and France’s CAC 40 up 0.3 percent. The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.2 percent.
Swiss watch maker Swatch featured among the top gainers, up 4.2 percent after posting a strong rise in 2013 profits and saying it expected healthy growth this year.
The overall earnings picture remained mixed, however, with Syngenta falling 4.2 percent after the world’s largest maker of crop chemicals reported a drop in profit for last year.
Unibail-Rodamco fell 2.1 percent after Europe’s largest property group’s profit outlook disappointed investors. with its medium-term profit outlook.
“Earnings growth in Europe has been negative over the last two years. If earnings do not improve during the next months, 2014 will prove to be a difficult year for the stock market,” said Koen De Leus, senior economist at KBC, in Brussels.
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:
Today’s European research round-up