European shares rise; Roche, Electrolux slide

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct, highest since Jan. 22

* Miners rise on stronger metals prices

* Roche, Electrolux slip as results miss forecasts

By Harpreet Bhal

LONDON, Feb 3 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares advanced for a
fourth consecutive session on Wednesday, with stronger miners on
the back of firm metals prices outpacing a weaker pharma sector,
which slipped after Roche’s (ROG.VX: ) profit missed expectations.

By 0935 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3: ) of top
European shares rose 0.3 percent to 1,029.73 points after rising
up to 1,031.39, the highest since Jan 22. It closed 0.9 percent
higher on Tuesday and is up 60 percent since a record low in
March last year.

Miners extended the previous session’s gains, supported by
stronger metals prices. Anglo American (AAL.L: ), Kazakhmys
(KAZ.L: ), BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ), Xstrata (XTA.L: ) and Rio Tinto
(RIO.L: ) added 0.7 to 2 percent.

“Fundamentally the stock market is in good shape … there
is no reason in my opinion to desert equities at the moment.
There isn’t a decent alternative asset class to be supported,”
said David Buik, senior partner at BGC Partners.

“We have this conundrum of how long do we stay with the
stock market before we desert it and face reality. The reality
is all major countries in the world are going to put on too much
debt,” he said.

Worries over debt problems in Greece have caused some
jitters in financial markets in recent weeks, and investors will
await a verdict by the European Commission on the country’s
deficit-cutting plan later in the day.

The European Commission will endorse on Wednesday a Greek
plan to cut its budget deficit below the EU ceiling of 3 percent
of GDP by the end of 2012, saying it was feasible despite risks.
[ID:nLDE6112DN]

But the gains were limited by weakness in the pharmaceutical
sector as Roche fell 1.2 percent after its 2009 profit just
missed expectations with a 10 percent rise. The Swiss drugmaker,
however, confirmed its forecast for double-digit profit growth
this year. [ID:nLDE6111JE]

AstraZeneca (AZN.L: ) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: ) shed 3.3 and
0.3 percent respectively. AstraZeneca shares traded ex-dividend
and sentiment was also knocked by concerns it may soon release
negative clinical trials results for its experimental bowel
cancer drug Recentin.

Shares drew some support from a rally on Wall Street
overnight, on data showing rising sales of previously owned
homes and better-than-expected earnings.

Later in the session, investors’ attention will turn to the
U.S. ADP national private sector employment report for January,
ahead of Friday’s non-farm payroll numbers for December, for
fresh clues on the health of the economy.

ELECTROLUX HAMMERED

Shares in Electrolux (ELUXb.ST: ) sank more than 13.4 percent,
hitting a more than three-month low, after the Swedish white
goods giant posted a fourth quarter core profit that undershot
market expectations and said it sees no sign of a strong
recovery in 2010. [ID:nLDE612095]

Macroeconomic numbers were mixed. British consumer
confidence rose in January, but households showed less desire to
spend than normal for the start of the year. [ID:nLAG006085]

The euro zone’s dominant service sector expanded at a slower
pace in January than in the previous month as a country
divergence widened but firms grew more optimistic about the year
ahead, Markit’s final Eurozone Services Purchasing Managers’
Index showed. [ID:nLAG006096]

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ), Germany’s DAX
(.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) all added around 0.3
percent.

Stock Report

(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal; Editing by Hans Peters)

European shares rise; Roche, Electrolux slide