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Europe: Positive earnings give European shares a boost

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[MILAN] European shares rose in early trading on Thursday helped by good-looking results from companies including insurance heavyweights Munich Re and Generali and Old Mutual.

Their shares all rose more than 1 per cent, pushing Europe's insurance index to lead sectoral gainers and helping the pan-European STOXX 600 index rise 0.3 per cent by 0811 GMT.

Top gainer on the STOXX was British valve maker Spirax-Sarco Engineering, up 3.3 per cent after it reported better-than-expected full-year revenues and profit.

However Dufry shares fell 6.5 per cent after results with traders attributing the drop to a lack of clarity on its dividend plans, while lower-than-expected quarterly sales sent the world's No 2 fashion retailer H&M down 4.3 per cent.

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Societe Generale was a weak spot in a positive banking sector, down 2.5 per cent, after the French bank announced the unexpected departure of its deputy chief executive Didier Valet.

Among country benchmarks, UK's FTSE was up 0.2 per cent and Germany's DAX added 0.5 per cent.

REUTERS