* FTSEurofirst 300 index gains 0.3 percent
* Autos, financial gain on encouraging earnings
* Royal Dutch Shell drops after results
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - European shares edged higher to
trade near a five-year high by midday trading on Thursday, with
automobile and financial sectors advancing after some
encouraging company results.
The European automobile index climbed 1.5 percent,
the top sectoral gainer, led by a 5.8 percent jump in Finnish
tyre maker Nokian Renkaat after it reported
better-than predicted operating profit.
The market also got support from a 1.2 percent gain in the
banking sector, with Spain's Banco Popular rising 6.9
percent after posting better than expected nine-month earnings
thanks to trading and capital gains.
Earnings results were mixed on Thursday, with oil major
Royal Dutch Shell's third quarter profits undershooting
analysts' forecasts and pushing its shares 4.5 percent lower.
"The earnings that are coming through are weak but stable.
The broader environment is much more supportive of equity
prices," said Oliver Wallin, investment director at Octopus
"The amount of liquidity in the markets and the capacity in
Europe and Japan to inject further is generally positive for the
At 1226 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
was up 0.3 percent at 1,291.43 points after climbing to
a five-year high in the previous session. However, the index
remained on track to record a second straight month of gains.
However, the oil services firm Technip fell 9
percent, the top decliner on the FTSEeurofirst, after cutting
its full-year sales and margin targets for its sub-sea business.
Investors brushed aside concerns that the Federal Reserve's
less-dovish-than-expected statement on Wednesday could mean that
the U.S. central bank might start trimming its stimulus sooner
The Fed kept its massive stimulus plan intact as the market
widely expected, but did not sound as alarmed about the state of
the economy as anticipated, removing a reference to tighter
financial conditions from its announcement.