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REFILE-Mobistar profit alert puts lid on European share gains
July 22, 2013 / 8:46 AM / 4 years ago

REFILE-Mobistar profit alert puts lid on European share gains

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 percent

* Telecoms knocked by Mobistar warning

* Philips, UBS, Julius Baer boosted by profit beats

By David Brett

LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) - European shares inched up on Monday, buoyed near recent highs by strong results from Philips, Julius Baer and UBS, while telecoms stocks dragged on the index following a profit warning from Mobistar.

The Belgian telecoms operator slumped 28.5 percent, having cut its revenue and profit forecasts for this year and suspended its dividend after a price war caused earnings to tumble in the second quarter.

Telecoms, down 0.3 percent, were the biggest drag on the FTSEurofirst 300, which rose 0.96 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,209.95 by 0832 GMT.

The index is up around 8.7 percent since June lows and back above its 50-day moving average.

Strategists said stock markets appeared to have finally received and understood the message from the Federal Reserve that U.S. monetary policy will remain supportive.

“Markets have been reassured by (Fed chief Ben) Bernanke’s comments last week,” Adam Seagrave, trader at Saxo Bank, said.

But the eventual end to the Fed’s stimulus programme would keep trading volatile, encouraging investors to focus on the corporate earnings season for the time being, he said.

Swiss private bank Julius Baer added 4.3 percent after first-half profits beat estimates.

Dutch healthcare, lighting and consumer appliances group Philips climbed 3.8 percent after reporting strong second-quarter results.

Swiss lender UBS added 3.9 percent after another earnings beat.

In the early stages of the European quarterly earnings season, 51 percent of companies that have reported results have either met or beaten expectations, although year-on-year second-quarter growth has contracted by 4 percent, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data, reflecting a tough economic backdrop.

“In Europe at this stage ...our expectations are still negative. Having said that, if you look at the economic surprise (indicator), the situation is improving and we may have seen a bottom,” Eric Verleyen, chief investment officer at SG Hambros Bank, said.

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