* FTSEurofirst 300 rises 0.3 pct, at 7-year highs
* $5.8 bln inflows to European equities -BoAML
* DAX sets new record peaks
By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Blaise Robinson
LONDON/PARIS, Feb 20 (Reuters) - European stock markets touched new multi-year highs on Friday, with the German market near record levels, as euro zone finance ministers prepared another attempt at reaching a deal on Greece.
Germany’s DAX closed up 0.4 percent at 11,050.64 points - its highest ever closing level and near a record intraday peak of 11,081.81 points set earlier in the day.
Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk rose 4.4 percent after positive trial results for one of its products, while miner Eramet jumped 11.8 percent after better-than-expected results.
Novo Nordisk was among the best performers on the blue-chip European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which rose 0.3 percent to 1,525.51 points, at seven-year highs.
The Greek stalemate overshadowed data pointing to growth in Germany and France. Greece’s new prime minister said on Friday he was certain euro zone finance ministers would accept Athens’ request for an extended loan as EU paymaster Germany softened its hostile tone.
German magazine Spiegel reported that the European Central Bank was making preparations for the event that Greece did leave the euro zone, but most traders still expected Greece to stay in the euro.
Athens’ benchmark ATG equity index dipped 0.3 percent but the index remains up by around 20 percent from low points in late January, when the Syriza party won power in Greek elections. The Greek bank index rose 0.8 percent.
“I think there is going to be a resolution on Greece. We’re not favouring the scenario of Greece exiting the euro zone,” said Thames Capital Markets’ chief market strategist Nav Banwait.
Among shares losing ground, Gemalto, which makes smart chips for mobile phones, bank cards and biometric passports, fell 3.7 percent after it said it would investigate a report that U.S. and British spies had hacked its systems to steal its encryption keys.
Telecom Italia also slipped 1.1 percent after the company said it would propose paying dividends only to certain shareholders and posted lower profits.
Nevertheless, half way into the earnings season, results have been strong in Europe. Fifty-three percent of companies’ results have beaten profit forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Fourth-quarter earnings are expected to grow 19.5 percent, which would be the best quarter in 3-1/2 years, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch said European equities saw $5.8 billion of inflows this week.
The FTSEurofirst 300 has risen 11 percent so far this year, outperforming gains of around 2 percent in Wall Street’s S&P 500 , helped by the European Central Bank’s plans to buy government bonds to boost the economy.
“Europe is not heading into exponential economic growth, there are still a lot of issues like debt and government restructuring, but nevertheless things are starting to improve,” said Michel Juvet, chief investment officer at Swiss bank Bordier.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Larry King)