European shares ride global equity wave, ECB policy meeting eyed

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)