FTSEurofirst sets another five-year high, focus on earnings
LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The FTSEurofirst 300 index edged up to a new five-year high on Monday, helped by a record peak on Wall Street, strong earnings and expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will maintain its easy policy.
Investor focus shifted to the Fed's likely action after U.S. lawmakers voted on Wednesday to lift the debt limit, averting a potential default that many economists had warned could tip the world's biggest economy back into recession.
"Market players have started to realise that with all the present dangers postponed until next year, we will probably have clear sailing into the end of the year," Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets, said.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index advanced for an eighth straight session and was up 0.1 percent at 1,278.28 points after touching 1,278.75, its highest since mid-2008. The index tracked gains on the U.S. S&P 500, which ended at a fresh record high on Friday.
Dutch paints and chemicals company Akzo Nobel surged 6 percent after results. Its third-quarter core earnings narrowly missed analysts' estimates, but the company reiterated that its performance improvement programme was on track to be completed in 2013.
German business software maker SAP rose more than 5 percent after sticking to its full-year outlook.
"My expectations are for a fairly good mix of solid company earnings and supportive macro data. The outlook of European companies should be better, given the stabilising economy," Christian Stocker, equity strategist at UniCredit, said.