European shares edge up in holiday-thinned trade

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 percent

* Technology firms among the gainers

* Trading thin; London markets closed for holiday

By Harpreet Bhal

LONDON, Dec 28 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares rose on Tuesday,
with Alcatel-Lucent (ALUA.PA: ) leading gains in the technology
sector after it agreed to settle a bribery case, though volumes
were low as the London equity market remained closed.

By 1152 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: )
index of top shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,139.76 points.
Volumes remained low due to the holiday period, with the index
trading at just 11.7 percent of its average 90-day volume.

The index has risen almost 9 percent so far this year,
against a 25.7 percent gain posted in 2009, and analysts expect
the trend to continue in the new year.

“The corporate position still remains very bright and the
outlook for market remains positive. We continue to have
overweight positions in both developed and emerging market
equities,” said Henk Potts, equity strategist at Barclays
Wealth.

Alcatel-Lucent rose 1.6 percent after the firm agreed to pay
more than $137 million to settle U.S. charges it paid bribes to
win business in Latin America and Asia. [ID:nN27229291]

Within the sector, Ericsson (ERICb.ST: ), ASML Holding
(ASML.AS: ) and Atos Origin (ATOS.PA: ) added 0.5 to 1 percent.

Across Europe, Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI: ) was up 0.1 percent and
France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) added 0.4 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100
was closed.

GROWTH UNCERTAINTY

Some jitters over the outlook for economic growth persisted
following China’s move on Christmas Day to raise interest rates
for the second time in just over two months to cap surging
inflation. [ID:nTOE6BO010]

“China is a good indicator of what commodities are going to
do. I expect that in the coming months we could have a
correction in commodities,” said Koen De Leus, strategist at KBC
Securities in Brussels.

Still, European shares remain relatively cheap, with the
STOXX Europe 600 carrying a forward P/E ratio of 10.9, well
below a 10-year average of 13.8, according to Thomson Reuters
Datastream.

Energy shares gained, as crude prices (CLc1: ) rose above $91
a barrel to hover near a 26-month high due to a weaker dollar
and hopes that a blizzard on the U.S. East Coast boost demand
for heating oil.

Oil majors Total (TOTF.PA: ) and Repsol (REP.MC: ) rose 0.8 and
0.7 percent respectively.

On the downside, German car maker BMW (BMWG.DE: ) lost 1.7
percent after a broker downgrade on a weakening outlook for
sales in China, traders said.

Tenaris SpA (TENR.MI: ) shed 2.2 percent, after Exane BNP
Paribas downgraded the maker of seamless steel pipes for the
energy industry to “neutral” from “outperform” on valuation
grounds.
(Additional reporting by Simon Jessop and Atul Prakash; Editing
by Mike Nesbit)

European shares edge up in holiday-thinned trade