Upbeat earnings send Europe stocks to 6-mth highs

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.6 pct, highest since late April

* Nokia, Pernod Ricard, Danone surge after strong results

* Credit Suisse slides as profits fall sharply

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

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, Oct 21 (BestGrowthStock) – European stocks rallied on
Thursday, propelled to their highest closing level in six months
by a batch of upbeat quarterly results from bellwethers such as
Nokia (NOK1V.HE: ).

Shares of the world’s largest handset maker jumped 6.3
percent after it posted forecast-beating profit, lifted by
strong demand for cheap smartphones.

The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top European shares
ended 0.6 percent higher at 1,093.24 points while the Euro STOXX
50 (.STOXX50E: ), the euro zone’s blue chip index, gained 1.1
percent at 2,882.29 points, both indexes reaching their highest
closing levels since late April.

“Stock indices are breaking above their long trading range
as the spectre of a banking crisis and a double-dip recession
fades away,” said Marc Renaud, chief executive officer of
Paris-based asset management firm Mandarine Gestion.

“Corporate results are pretty good, but what’s most
reassuring is that companies have started to give positive
outlooks. There is still a lot of nervousness in markets, but
with risk premiums incredibly high, stocks are poised for a
rally.”

Spain’s successful placing of two long-dated bonds also
reassured investors. While demand slipped from recent equivalent
sales, yields also declined, signalling that worries over the
economy’s long-term health are easing. [ID:nLDE69K1M4]

Other positive signs were seen in the bond market, with the
two-year German government bond yield rising above 1.0 percent
for the first time since late March as euro zone short-term
money market rates continued to inch higher on lessening central
bank liquidity support.

“The recent improvement in the sentiment over banks,
particularly the peripheral banks, has helped them reduce their
dependence towards the European Central Bank, so the excess
liquidity has dropped,” Chantana Sam, strategist at AXA
Investment Managers, wrote in a note.

Danone (DANO.PA: ) surged 4.8 percent after the French food
group reported forecast-beating sales and kept its full-year
outlook despite warning that economic and social crises would
continue to hit consumption in Europe.

The upbeat results also boosted UK-listed consumer goods
groups Unilever (ULVR.L: ), Associated British Foods (ABF.L: ) and
Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L: ), which climbed between 2.4 and 3.9
percent.

French drinks group Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA: ) soared 6.3
percent after the maker of Absolut vodka and Mumm champagne
pleased investors with better-than-expected sales, helped by a
recovery in the United States as well as brisk growth in Asia,
Russia and Ukraine. Shares of UK rival Diageo (DGE.L: ) gained 2.3
percent.

Bucking the trend, Swiss bank Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX: )
dropped 4.5 percent after third-quarter net profit sank 74
percent, held back by sluggish equities trading at its
investment banking unit.

(Editing by David Cowell)

Upbeat earnings send Europe stocks to 6-mth highs