European shares edge higher, positive earnings help
* FTSEurofirst 300 index up 0.2 pct
* UCB, BNP Paribas, Natixis up after results
* Engie falls on HSBC downgrade to "hold"
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - European shares advanced for a fourth straight session to a one-week high on Friday, with forecast-beating earnings reports from some companies underpinning market sentiment.
Shares in UCB surged 5.2 percent, the top gainer in the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, after the Belgian pharmaceutical company raised its 2015 forecasts as sales of its three major upcoming drugs propelled first-half earnings by more than expected.
BNP Paribas gained 3.5 percent after the French bank saw its revenue rising nearly 16 percent in the second quarter, boosted by brisk share trading, a strong dollar and recently acquired companies.
Natixis rose 3.3 percent after reporting a 5 percent rise in net income for the second quarter, driven by a strong increase in asset management, insurance sales and private banking, as well as continued efforts to reduce its balance sheet and risky assets.
"Overall, the results so far have been pretty good, with the banking sector putting in some good numbers as well," said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu. Continuación...