Reuters - Financials

European shares advance, Vodafone and Thales lead

* FTSEurofirst 300 index up 0.2 pct

* Abengoa renews slump after volatile Thursday

* Aggreko, SES issue profit warnings

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – European shares advanced on Friday, with well-received earnings updates from companies such as telecom major Vodafone and defence group Thales supporting the market.

Shares in Vodafone rose 4.2 percent, adding the most points to an advance on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index , after results that showed improvements across major markets in Germany and Britain.

France’s Thales surged more than 9 percent, hitting an all-time high. Its first-half operating profit rose by a larger-than-expected 18 percent to 473 million euros ($ 519 million), buoyed in part by a tighter grip on costs in its defence and security business.

The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.2 percent at 1,581.14 points at 1153 GMT after hitting a one-week low earlier in the session. The market recovered after weak private sector growth data sent bond yields lower and kept the pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to stimulate the euro zone economy.

“Historically the ECB has said it would do whatever it takes to save the euro, it has launched quantitative easing to support the euro zone and investors have faith that they will continue to be supportive if there are signs of weakness,” said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG.

The biggest faller on the FTSEurofirst 300 was satellite operator SES, down 8.5 percent after it cut its full-year revenue and profit guidance, hit by a delayed satellite launch and a decline in earnings from fixed data customers due to the strong dollar.

“The guidance was again lowered due to satellite launch delays, strong USD and satellite health degradation,” analysts at ING said in a note, saying that analysts had been overly optimistic on full year earnings.

German firm BASF, the world’s largest chemicals company by sales, fell 3.4 percent after earnings missed expectations.

Spain’s IBEX underperformed the market, trading 0.3 percent lower. Abengoa was the top faller, slumping 9 percent despite saying it would act to prevent speculative trading on its debt after a day of losses for its bonds, credit default swaps and stock on Thursday.

British emergency energy supplier Aggreko fell 12 percent after issuing a profit warning.

With 18 percent of STOXX Europe 600 companies having reported results, only 33 percent have beaten or met expectations, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data, with 67 percent missing expectations.

Europe bourses in 2015:

Asset performance in 2015:

Today’s European research round-up

(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Dominic Evans and Mark Potter)

Reuters: Financials

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