* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct at 1,123.74 points
* Euro STOXX 50 up 0.4 pct to 2,592.86 points
* EADS rises on hopes of deal to change shareholding
* Roche and Sanofi add most points to FTSEurofirst
* Concerns remain over U.S. "fiscal cliff"
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Dec 4 Gains in health stocks and in
aerospace group EADS lifted European shares on Tuesday,
although some traders said they would look to sell on the back
of rallies due to lingering worries over the U.S. economy.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up by
0.2 percent at 1,123.74 points in early morning trade.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
advanced by 0.4 percent to 2,592.86 points.
French company EADS was among the top performers on the
FTSEurofirst, rising 2.3 percent on hopes its main French and
German government investors were close to an agreement to
overhaul EADS' shareholder structure.
Trading volumes in EADS were above the average for the rest
of Europe, with volumes coming in at 33.6 percent of their
average 90-day level, compared to the Euro STOXX 50, where
volumes were at 12 percent of their average 90-day amount.
"The shareholder restructuring between the French and German
governments we feel is close, and the positive impacts should
not be underestimated," Barclays analysts wrote in a note on
Gains in heavyweight healthcare stocks Sanofi and
Roche also added the most points to the FTSEurofirst
300, with Roche benefiting from a target price upgrade to its
shares from brokerage Kepler.
European equity markets have mainly traded sideways in the
last month, due to worries over a lack of progress among U.S.
politicians over reaching a deal to delay growth-curbing
However, many investors still prefer equities to bonds or
cash, due to the better yields on offer in equities with
interest rates near record lows crimping returns on sovereign
bonds and cash.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was close to a year-high of 1,128.65
points reached earlier this week and had hit its highest closing
level since July 2011 on Nov. 29 when it ended at 1,121.83.
McLaren Securities managing director Terry Torrison said
European equities remained underpinned by pledges of fresh
action by the European Central Bank (ECB) to protect the euro
currency from the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.
"Ultimately, people think Europe's OK and that equities is
the place to be. If you're going to put your money anywhere, it
makes sense to put in equities," he said.
Others were more cautious due to the worries over the U.S.
"fiscal cliff" - a combination of U.S. government spending cuts
and tax rises due to be implemented under existing law in early
2013 that may cut the federal budget deficit but also tip the
economy back into recession.
"Sentiment has just turned a bit negative recently," said
Berkeley Futures associate director Richard Griffiths.
Griffiths said some clients were looking to sell European
equity markets at the top of their recent trading ranges, at
around the 2,625 point level for the Euro STOXX 50 index and
around 7,500 points for Germany's DAX index.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta/editing by Chris Pizzey, London
MPG Desk, +44 (0)207 542-4441; Additional reporting by Dominique