* FTSEurofirst 300 up 1.4 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 1.6 pct
* Alfa Laval surges after earnings announcement
* Atlas Copco also jumps after forecasting higher demand
* Swatch Group gains on upbeat full-year outlook
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) - European shares climbed to a six-week high on Thursday after the Greek parliament passed austerity measures demanded by its lenders to open talks on a new bailout package to keep Greece in the euro.
In exchange for funding worth up to 86 billion euros ($94 billion), Greece has accepted reforms including significant pension adjustments, higher value added taxes, an overhaul of its collective bargaining system, measures to liberalise its economy and tight limits on public spending.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 1.4 percent to 1,608.17 points, marking its highest level in more than six weeks. The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also advanced 1.6 percent.
“The Greek vote has helped the market post early gains. Over the next few weeks, we see the focus shifting to the results season where we expect the newsflow to be supportive,” Robert Parkes, director of equity strategy at HSBC Bank, said.
Swedish stocks were among the best performers in Europe.
Swedish engineer Alfa Laval surged around 10 percent after a bigger than expected rise in earnings, while Atlas Copco also jumped around 10 percent after the compressor and mining gear maker forecast higher demand.
Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group rose nearly 5 percent, as an upbeat outlook reassured investors even though the company posted lower first-half net profits.
Some analysts said stocks could come under pressure in the coming weeks because so much concerning Greece’s debt problems remains unresolved, and from speculation about the timing of the first U.S. interest rise in eight years.
Higher interest rates can hit stocks as they typically boost investment returns on bonds and cash.
“Buy the rumour, sell the news,” Koen De Leus, senior economist at KBC in Brussels, said. “All eyes are now on the European Central Bank and whether it will give the Greek banks some extra breathing space.”
“The stock market may be heading for more calm waters in the coming weeks, but investors’ focus will gradually shift to the timing of the first rate hike in the United States after 6 years of a zero interest rate policy.”
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that the U.S. central bank remained on track to raise interest rates this year.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index is up nearly 20 percent so far this year.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Tom Heneghan/Ruth Pitchford)