European shares edge up; ARM lifts tech sector

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct

* ARM up on reports of new Microsoft product

* China to buy Portuguese debt – report

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

By Harpreet Bhal

LONDON, Dec 22 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares edged up on
Wednesday, with ARM Holdings (ARM.L: ) leading gains in technology
shares on reports Microsoft (MSFT.O: ) is planning to unveil
software that runs on processors designed by the British firm.

Worries over the euro zone debt crisis were soothed by a
report that China was ready to buy 4 billion to 5 billion euros
of Portuguese sovereign debt to help the country ward off
pressure in debt markets. [ID:nLDE6BL0MW]

China’s central bank declined to comment.

By 1213 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: )
index of top shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,147.88 points,
hitting a fresh 27-month intraday high.

Trading volumes, however, were thin ahead of the Christmas
holiday and year-end period.

European fund managers lifted equity holdings to a 11-month
high and also boosted bonds in December as growing confidence in
the global economic recovery prompted them to put cash to work,
a Reuters poll showed. [ID:nLDE6BL0HY]

“Underlying corporate earnings are strong and the economic
data has been generally strong (but) it is not possible to
commit to a view on where the market is going to go until the
euro zone debt crisis is out of the way,” said Yusuf Heusen,

ARM Holdings rose 8.5 percent after media reports that
Microsoft is working on a version of its core Windows operating
system for devices such as tablets, and plans to unveil a
version of its software that runs for the first time on
processors designed by ARM. [ID:nN21260301]

ASML Holdings (ASML.AS: ), Infineon (IFXGn.DE: ), Logica (LOG.L: )
and Logitech (LOGN.VX: ) rose 0.8 to 1.6 percent.

Among other gainers, French luxury group Hermes (HRMS.PA: )
rose 3.4 percent after bigger rival LVMH (LVMH.PA: ) hiked its
stake to above 20 percent in the group. [ID:nLDE6BK1SI]

DEBT CONCERNS

According to the Jornal de Negocios, a deal between China
and Portugal will lead to China buying the indebted euro zone
country’s debt in auctions or in the secondary markets during
the first quarter of 2011.

The euro rose to the day’s high versus the dollar on
Wednesday on the back of the report, climbing around 30 pips to
a session high of $1.3168 according to Reuters data (EUR=: ).

“The Chinese move today is positive and it would inevitably
help sentiment towards the euro zone debt crisis,” Heusen said.

Highlighting the deepening of the euro zone debt troubles,
Moody’s said it may downgrade Portugal’s credit rating by one or
two notches, and Fitch warned of a growing probability it would
cut Greece’s credit rating to junk. [ID:nLDE6BK0HV]
[ID:nLDE6BK1XS]

On the macroeconomic front, Britain’s economy grew less
quickly than previously thought in the third quarter, and growth
in the second quarter was also revised down, official data
showed on Wednesday. [ID:nAHLLNE6BM]

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee retained its
three-way split at December’s policy meeting, but a growing
number of policymakers are worried about rising medium-term
inflation risks, central bank minutes showed on Wednesday

“As we move through 2011, investors are going to have to
contemplate the possibility that interest rates will rise,” said
Richard Jeffrey chief investment officer at Cazenove Capital
Management.

Among other movers, BskyB (BSY.L: ) rose 1.9 percent, and
touched the highest since March 2004, as the prospects improve
of regulatory approval for News International’s (NWSA.O: ) bid to
buy the pay-TV operator. [ID:nLDE6BL0B8]

German sports goods producer Adidas (ADSGn.DE: ) fell 1.5
percent, after peer Nike (NKE.N: ) posted future orders data that
missed many analysts’ expectations.
(Additional reporting by Brian Gorman; Editing by Hans Peters)

European shares edge up; ARM lifts tech sector