Earnings help nudge European shares higher

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 23, 2013 08:20 hrs

LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - European shares continued to trade in a tight range as the FTSEurofirst 300 index lingered around 22-month highs, with some good earnings results helping lift the index early on Wednesday.

By 0804 GMT, Europe's top shares rose 1.34 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,166.83, taking their cue from a late rally overnight on Wall Street and helped by reassuring earnings from likes of tech firms Google and IBM .

In Europe, Novartis was the top gainer, up 2.7 percent, after saying it expects sales to grow in the mid-single digits from 2014.

The FTSEurofirst, however, has traded in little more than a 10-point range since Jan 3, while the Germany's DAX and the euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index have been stuck in a 40-point range.

"Currently in the short-term we are in a trend confirming consolidation. Eventually this will dissolve upwards and by the end of the year we expect indexes to test fresh highs," Thorsten Grisse, technical analyst at Commerzbank, said.

For the DAX that means highs last seen back in 2008, which are about 4 percent away, but Grisse said the Euro STOXX 50 will struggle to see 2010 highs, pegged by its weighting towards the region's indebted banks and their exposure to the zone's debt crisis.

"The tops are more durable now and for sure 2013 will not be as good a year as 2012," he said.

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