* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.7 pct, extends Tuesday’s rally
* Alcatel soars after results beat forecasts
* Roche tumbles as results disappoint investors
* For up-to-the-minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Feb 4 (Reuters) - European stocks climbed in early trade on Wednesday, extending the previous session's rally as forecast-beating results from Alcatel-Lucent ALUA.PA overshadowed disappointing earnings from Roche ROG.VX.
Miners were on the rise after BHP Billiton BLT.L, the world's biggest miner, posted a 2.2 percent increase in first-half profits, boosted by a last burst of Chinese demand growth. BHP was up 3.3 percent, while Rio Tinto RIO.L gained 2.1 percent and Anglo American AAL.L added 2 percent.
At 0937 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares was up 0.7 percent at 797.69 points. The benchmark index -- which is still down 4.5 percent in 2009 -- gained 1.9 percent on Tuesday, boosted by Vodafone's VOD.L reassuring update.
“We’re getting a breather after a series of negative sessions. Overall, corporate results are not as bad as people had feared. But that doesn’t mean the bear market is over,” said Jacques Henry, analyst at Louis Capital Markets, in Paris.
Alcatel-Lucent gained 7 percent after it posted forecast-beating quarterly sales and adjusted earnings before interest and taxes, while booking a fresh impairment charge of 3.91 billion euros ($5.10 billion), reflecting a “drastic deterioration” of the global outlook.
“It looks like the results are well received by the market, which focuses on the operational side. The big impairment charge had been expected,” one trader said.
Shares of Alcatel-Lucent, recently plagued by a series of profit warnings, had plummeted 70 percent in 2008, falling behind the DJ Stoxx technology index .SX8P, which lost 50 percent.
Banks were on the upside, with Deutsche Bank DBKGn.DE surging 5.3 percent on speculation that Germany's biggest lender will be upbeat about 2009 prospects when it reports fourth-quarter and full-year results on Thursday, traders say.
“There are hopes that they have written off everything ‘bad’ in the fourth quarter and have therefore been able to get off to a good start in 2009,” one trader said.
Public works group Vinci SGEF.PA gained 2 percent after reporting fourth-quarter sales figures seen as in-line with market expectations.
On the downside, Swiss pharmaceutical group Roche dropped 7.8 percent after it posted a 5 percent fall in 2008 profit, missing expectations, and said it sees growth slowing this year.
Munich Re MUVGn.DE, the world's biggest reinsurer, lost 4.3 percent after posting a drop in profit for the final three months of last year, blaming the intensifying financial crisis.
The market was also buoyed by data showing a rise in China’s official manufacturing index, coupled with a surge in bank lending, feeding optimism that the world’s third-largest economy may soon be on its way to a recovery.
Later in the session, investors’ focus will turn to the U.S. ADP National employment data, a preview for Friday’s eagerly-awaited U.S. monthly jobs data.