(Updates with ECB keeping rates unchanged)
* FTSEurofirst 300 and Euro STOXX 50 edge up
* Roche, Orange rise after outlook lifted
* Publicis slumps after growth target cut
By Danilo Masoni
MILAN, Oct 22 (Reuters) - European shares were steady on Thursday, with solid earnings from drugmaker Roche supporting markets, while investors eyed a European Central Bank news conference later in the day for signs of more monetary support.
Both the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index were up by between 0.1 and 0.2 percent.
The ECB kept interest rates unchanged at a record low at its meeting, but many investors were awaiting a news conference later by ECB head Mario Draghi for any sign that the ECB might offer more support for the euro zone’s economy.
Analysts say the euro zone’s central bank is likely to keep the door open for more monetary stimulus as it awaits fresh indications of the outlook for inflation in the bloc.
Roche shares rose 1.3 percent after the world’s biggest cancer drug company raised its full-year sales outlook after reporting that revenue in the first nine months of the year increased more than analysts had forecast.
“Roche reported a good third quarter with pleasing set of sales figures,” said BAADER Helvea Equity Research in a note, while Natixis upgraded the stock to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’.
French spirits group Pernod Ricard also rose 3.4 percent after quarterly sales rose more than expected, as a strong U.S. performance offset sluggish China sales.
Publicis slumped 9 percent, however, after the world’s third-biggest advertising agency cut its annual organic growth target to 1 percent from 2.5 as quarterly sales slowed.
Banks were among the biggest sectoral losers, with Credit Suisse falling after Switzerland outlined tough new banking capital requirements to protect the economy from any banking collapse.
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Kevin Liffey)