Europe stocks up as Bundesbank lifts growth target

* FTSEurofirst 300 index up 0.6 pct

* Bundesbank lifts Germany’s growth target to around 3 pct

* Upbeat British retail sales boost supermarket firms

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

By Harpreet Bhal

LONDON, Aug 19 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares rose on Thursday
after confidence was boosted by Germany’s Bundesbank raising its
forecast for the country’s economic growth this year, with banks
and miners among the biggest gainers.

By 1059 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of leading
European shares was up 0.6 percent at 1,058.80 points,
rebounding from falls earlier in the day in a choppy session.

The Euro STOXX 50 (.STOXX50E: ), the euro zone’s blue chip
index, was up 0.7 percent at 2,747.18 points, climbing above its
50 percent retracement, at 2,737.62 points, of its fall to a May
low from an April high.

Volumes, however, were thin due to the holiday period.
Volumes on the index were at just 23 percent of its average
90-day volume by midday.

Sentiment was boosted after Germany’s Bundesbank said the
economy is set to grow by around 3 percent this year, against a
previous forecast of almost 2 percent. [ID:nBAF004214]

Banks were among the biggest gainers, with Deutsche Bank
(DBKGn.DE: ), Barclays (BARC.L: ) and Societe Generale (SOGN: ) up 0.2
to 0.7 percent.

“The positive news from the Bundesbank, which raised their
growth forecasts for 2010, is giving the markets a boost on a
day where volumes are quite low,” a London-based trader said.

Among other gainers, British food retailers rose after data
showed retail sales volumes rose faster than forecast last
month. [ID:nAHLIJE65T].

Tesco (TSCO.L: ), Sainsbury (SBRY.L: ) and Wm Morrison (MRW.L: )
were up 0.8 to 2.3 percent.

Investor confidence was also lifted by data showing UK
public sector borrowing fell sharply. [ID:nLDE67I0X2]

Further data likely to generate interest on Thursday include
U.S. weekly jobless claims at 1230 GMT and U.S. leading
indicators for July at 1400 GMT.

NOKIA GAINS

Among individual movers, Nokia (NOK1V.HE: ) rose 3.3 percent
after a Finnish newspaper reported that the company could be
cheap enough to become an acquisition target, and on
expectations of an improving offering of smartphones.

Mining firms were also higher, boosted by rising metals
prices. Anglo American (AAL.L: ), Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: ) and Rio Tinto
(RIO.L: ) were up 0.3 to 0.5 percent.

BHP Billiton rose 0.4 percent. The miner is focusing on
getting regulatory approval for its $39 billion hostile bid for
Potash Corp (POT.TO: ) before trying in earnest to win over the
Canadian company’s shareholders, a source said on Thursday.
[ID:nN22340110]

On the downside, Holcim (HOLN.VX: ) tumbled 4.2 percent after
the world’s second biggest cement maker’s first-half earnings
missed forecasts and it said government austerity programmes
would limit infrastructure spending.

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 index (.FTSE: ), Germany’s
DAX index (.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) were up 0.1 to
0.7 percent.

“Investors continue to remain cautious with respect to risk,
with gold continuing to rise against the U.S. dollar to six-week
highs, as well as pushing higher against the single currency,
while stock markets continue to trade listlessly on low volume
in a fairly broad range,” Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC
Markets, said in a note.
(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Europe stocks up as Bundesbank lifts growth target