* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 percent
* Euro STOXX 50 poised for more gains - Trading Central
* HeidelbergCement, LVMH, Intertek rise after upgrades
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Nov 30 European stocks crept higher on
Friday, trading around multi-month highs in a choppy session
against a backdrop of conflicting signals about U.S. budget
The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.2 percent at 1,124.55
by 1206 GMT, having dipped as low as 1,119.66, with thin
volumes, at around a third of the 90-day daily average,
exaggerating the market's moves.
The index jumped 1.1 percent on Thursday to its highest
close since July 2011 on expectations U.S. politicians would
reach a deal to stop the world's biggest economy falling off a
'fiscal cliff' of tax rises and spending cuts.
But House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner dampened
investors' optimism after the European market close, lowering
hopes of a budget deal soon and sending U.S. shares temporarily
"Any sort of semblance of good news is treated favourably,
and any drip feed of bad news initiates a negative reaction ...
I think the impact on markets is going to be magnified over the
coming weeks because December is traditionally a period of thin
volumes," said Oliver Wallin, investment director at Octopus
Investments, which manages nearly $5 billion.
"It's very difficult to second-guess what's going on. I
think the odds are in favour of some kind of resolution, some
kind of agreement."
The Euro STOXX 50 was 0.3 percent higher at
2,589.11 points, within touching distance of the upper end of a
150-point range seen since early September, with some technical
strategists saying the index was poised for further gains.
Trading Central analyst Philippe Delabarre targets 2,610,
around the year's high, with his positive view fuelled by the
index's bounce on Wednesday off a declining trend line drawn
from September, and this week's bullish gap, which allowed it to
push above Tuesday's top.
"The markets are obviously getting a bit more sanguine about
(the fiscal cliff situation) day by day," said Andrew Milligan,
head of global strategy at Standard Life Investments, which has
163.4 billion pounds ($262 billion) of assets under management.
"That may just be the calm before the storm, but the
impression I get is that people think, yes, they will sort it
Broker recommendation changes were behind a number of share
price moves on Friday.
HeidelbergCement was among the top FTSEurofirst
300 risers, up 2.8 percent, as Morgan Stanley upgraded its
rating for the firm to "overweight", making the stock its top
Building & Construction sector pick for the near term.
Overall Morgan Stanley cut its stance for the sector to
"in-line" on a strong year-to-date performance and a less
positive global outlook, while downgrading its rating for
HeidelbergCement's Italian peer Buzzi Unicem to
"underweight", citing a higher valuation and lower cash
generation for the near-term owing to operating losses in Italy.
Buzzi Unicem shares shed 1.4 percent.
French luxury group LVMH saw a good rise, ahead
3.1 percent after Goldman Sachs upgraded it to 'buy' from
'neutral', forecasting an improvement in demand from China.
Meanwhile, British testing, inspection and certification
firm Intertek Group advanced 1.2 percent, with
Berenberg lifting its stance on the stock to "buy".