November 9, 2012 / 8:21 AM / 5 years ago

European shares edge higher, led by Novo Nordisk

LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - European shares edged off one-week lows on Friday, helped by fresh forecast-beating data from China and a solid gain for Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk after one of its products gained U.S. approval.

Sentiment remained fragile, however, given persistent concerns over the near-term U.S. fiscal outlook and the funding needs of austerity hit Greece.

At 0818 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.1 percent at 1,099.30 points, after falling 0.2 percent in the previous session.

China’s annual industrial output growth rose more than expected in October and fixed asset investment ticked higher, further raising expectations of a modest rebound in the last quarter.

“The pace of growth of 8 or 9 percent that we saw over the last few years will probably not return, but that’s not what is in the price. What’s in the price is slowing economic growth, so if we see some resilience in the Chinese economy then that will be rewarded by higher prices,” Gerard Lane, equity strategist at Shore Capital, said.

“You would want to be long on China-exposed companies and on the emerging market-orientated stocks such as luxury goods. That would provide cyclical risks in portfolios, which should otherwise be very defensive because elsewhere in the world things are slowing, if not contracting.”

Leading gainers across the FTSEurofirst 300 was Novo Nordisk, up more than 10 percent after an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late on Thursday voted to recommend approval of its long-acting insulin degludec.

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