* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.9 pct
* UBS, Novartis among heavyweight risers after results
* So far, two-third of companies meet/beat forecasts
* Sanofi, StanChart and Saipem all slump after earnings (Adds detail, quotes)
By Alistair Smout
EDINBURGH, Oct 28 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early trade on Tuesday, reversing the previous session’s dip as better-than-expected results from a number of blue-chips including pharma group Novartis and bank UBS helped lift sentiment.
Gains in Europe were spurred by the German DAX, up 1.7 percent, and peripheral euro zone markets, with Spain’s IBEX up 1.8 percent and Italy’s FTSE MIB 1.7 percent higher.
The French CAC and Britain’s FTSE gained only 0.5 percent, hit by steep falls in French pharmaceutical Sanofi and UK-listed Standard Chartered Bank after they reported results that missed expectations.
In general stronger corporate reports helped the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 rise 1 percent to 1,317.99 by 1214 GMT.
The market has rallied over 8 percent after hitting a low for 2014 just under two weeks ago. Volatility on the Euro STOXX 50, a measure of investor caution, fell 10 percent on Tuesday, and has fallen over 40 percent in that fortnight.
“We still see a strong market into the end of the year after the recent weakness and remain bullish,” said Atif Latif, director of trading at Guardian Stockbrokers.
“Earnings have been positive over the last few weeks and macro data trending to the upside.”
UBS was the top gainer, up 5.3 percent after the bank beat forecasts with a 32 percent rise in net profit from a year earlier. Swiss pharma Novartis and Dutch telecom KPN also rose after beating expectations.
About a quarter of companies listed on the STOXX Europe 600 benchmark index have reported results so far in the earnings season. Some 66 percent of them have met or beaten profit forecasts while 61 percent met or beat revenue forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.
“The strength of the current earnings season justifies owning equities, and we think there will be a recovery in the equity market,” said James Butterfill, global equity strategist at Coutts.
Bucking the trend, shares in pharma group Sanofi sank 10.6 percent after posting weaker-than-expected quarterly sales. It blamed pressure on prices within its lucrative diabetes business.
Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered tumbled 8.3 percent after saying it will cut branches and sell more non-core assets as part of a plan to cut costs by $400 million next year.
Shares in Italy’s Saipem were suspended following an 8.9 percent slump after the company posted a third-quarter net profit below market consensus and said full-year results would come in at the lower end of guidance.
Italian stocks pared gains after the release, having been as much as 2.2 percent higher.
Guardian’s Latif said better than expected business confidence data had boosted the FTSE MIB in early trade, although it remains down 7.4 percent in October as Italy struggles for growth.
Shares in French auto parts maker Montupet surged as much as 14 percent in brisk volume on Tuesday after news agency Bloomberg reported that the company was exploring a sale of its business.
The Greek market was closed for a national holiday on Tuesday.
($1 = 0.7870 Euros)
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Catherine Evans)