European shares edge higher on encouraging economic data
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct, reverses early losses
* Lufthansa, Airbus down after plane crash
* Poor Chinese data weighs on resource-related shares
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - European shares edged up on Tuesday to hover just below a recent 7-1/2-year high, with forecast-beating business surveys from Germany and France offsetting disappointing Chinese factory data.
However, Lufthansa and Airbus were down 1.9 percent and 0.9 percent respectively after an Airbus operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airline crashed in France with all 148 on board feared dead. The European travel and leisure index fell 0.4 percent.
Equities recovered from early falls as purchasing managers' surveys (PMIs) showed Germany's private sector grew in March at its strongest rate since July and France's private sector expanded for the second straight month, chiming with recent figures suggesting that economy is edging back to growth.
"Today's data further shows that Europe is on the road to recovery and we are heading in the right direction. This is also supportive of our view that European earnings are going to deliver an upside surprise in 2015," HSBC Global Research equity strategist Robert Parkes said.
"Companies are not cheap any more, but valuations are not yet stretched and we see more upside potential for European equities in the coming months," he added. Continuación...