April 20, 2011 / 9:24 AM / 8 years ago

European shares rise sharply on strong earnings

* FTSEurofirst 300 rises 1.3 pct

* Miners rise as gold hits $1,500, dollar weakens

* L’Oreal up on results, techs rise on Intel

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Brian Gorman

LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - European shares rose sharply on Wednesday, tracking gains on Wall Street and in Asia, after strong sales at tech bellwether Intel (INTC.O) and other U.S. firms boosted optimism for European companies’ results.

At 0903 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares was up 1.3 percent at 1,131.65 points, after rising 0.4 percent in the previous session. This followed a 1.7 percent decline on Monday when Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook for U.S. debt to negative. "While S&P grabbed some headlines earlier in the week, on a future event that may or may not happen, it seems things on the ground are coming up pretty good," said Philip Isherwood, European equities strategist at Evolution Securities.

“The economic and corporate message is good. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

L’Oreal (OREP.PA), the world’s biggest cosmetics group, rose 3.1 percent after saying on Tuesday it was well-positioned to outperform its markets in 2011, while posting higher sales in the first quarter, helped by North America.

Intel Corp (INTC.O) forecast quarterly revenues well above Wall Street’s estimates, defying fears the world’s top chip maker is struggling to find its footing as personal computer sales growth wanes. [ID:nN19291560]

European techs rose, including STMicroelectronics (STM.PA), Alcatel-Lucent ALUA.PA and Infineon (IFXGn.DE), up between 3.8 and 5 percent.

Peugeot (PEUP.PA) gained 3.3 percent, bouncing back from a recent sharp retreat, after the French car maker reported forecast-beating quarterly revenues as strong demand in emerging markets helps it offset supply chain problems in Japan. [ID:nLDE73J055]

Other autos to rise included Daimler (DAIGn.DE), up 2.4 percent.


Spot gold prices breached $1,500 for the first time and silver hit a 31-year high on Wednesday, supported by a weak dollar and concerns over a sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone.

With base metal prices also rising, miners were among the biggest gainers.

Heavyweights Anglo American (AAL.L) and Rio Tinto (RIO.L) rose 2.8 and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Kazakhmys (KAZ.L) and Xstrata XTA.L rose 1.9 and 2.7 percent respectively, even as they went ex-dividend.

Oils gained, tracking crude prices. BP (BP.L) was up 2.5 percent, but down nearly 30 percent on a year ago, when it suffered a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Isherwood said he favoured the oil and mining sectors. “They’re going to offer topline growth, earnings growth, upgrades, and protection against the major risk, inflation.” Equity valuations, remain attractive, despite the benchmark having risen more than 75 percent from its low of March, 2009.

The STOXX Europe 600 carries a one-year forward price-to-earnings of about 10.7 against a 10-year average of 13.5, Thomson Reuters Datastream showed.

But the technical picture is less rosy. The FTSEurofirst 300 remains below its 50-day average, and analysts say further progress may be limited.

“It’s also broken down through its long-term uptrend, and it’s started looking like the trend has gone from providing support to providing resistance,” said Bill McNamara, technical analyst at Charles Stanley. “There are significant concerns about the ability of this index to mount a sustained rally.”

Editing by Louise Heavens

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