European shares get earnings boost into US election

LONDON, Nov 6 (Reuters) - European equities were lifted by a clutch of strong earnings reports on Tuesday, although volumes were subdued as many preferred to wait for the outcome of the neck-and-neck U.S. presidential election.

Tuesday's polls will determine whether incumbent Barack Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney are in charge of resolving the ``fiscal cliff'' of multi-billion dollar spending cuts and tax increases, which threatens to plunge the United States back into recession next year.

The fate of the U.S. economy has become increasingly key for European companies, such as Adecco, as the euro zone crisis crushes domestic growth. Shares in the staffing group added 3.2 percent after stronger sales in North America compensated for a continuing slowdown in Europe, enabling it to beat expectations on third quarter profit.

``If you look at pockets of strength within Europe it's companies that are exposed to the U.S. and to Asia,'' said Stephen Walker, head of equities research and market strategy at Ashcourt Rowan.

The gains in Adecco, coupled with a strong performance in the insurance sector after an outlook upgrade by Hannover Re helped the FTSEurofirst 300 to provisionally close 0.5 percent higher at 1,113.83 points

The EuroSTOXX 50 added 0.7 percent to 2,534.86 points in light volumes, at just 48 percent of the 90-day daily average on EuroSTOXX 50.