LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) - European shares extended their gains in early deals on Thursday, lifted by buoyant global markets, hours ahead of a highly anticipated policy meeting at the European central bank.
The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.3 percent after major U.S. and Asian stock indexes closed at record highs, helped notably by technology stocks which finally surpassed their dotcom bubble peaks.
The sector continued to shine in Europe with a 0.3 percent rise after having hit its best daily performance since September last year during Wednesday's session.
SAP, Europe's most valuable technology firm rose in line with the sector after reporting revenues for the second quarter rose 10.4 percent to 5.78 billion euros, slightly above analyst expectations.
The European banking sector retreated by 0.3 pct ahead of the ECB's meeting when more light could be shed on how it intends to progressively exit its stimulus package.
Nordea, the Nordic region's biggest bank by market value, reported second-quarter operating earnings below analyst estimates and dropped 5.6 percent.
Elsewhere, Unilever edged 0.6 percent higher after reporting slightly weaker than expected quarterly sales but reaffirmed sticking to its full-year target.
Among stocks trading in negative territory was Swiss engineering company ABB, which was down 2.6% after a weaker-than-expected increase in quarterly net profit.
(Reporting by Julien Ponthus, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)