* FTSEurofirst 300 index up 0.9 percent
* Index hits highest level since August
* Infineon soars after results, dividend beat expectations
* Wall Street shut for Thanksgiving (Adds closing prices)
By Danilo Masoni and Alistair Smout
MILAN/LONDON, Nov 26 (Reuters) - European shares hit three-month highs on Thursday, rising in thin trade as expectations grew for aggressive European Central Bank (ECB) action next week.
A solid quarterly report from chipmaker Infineon and a rebound in metal prices also provided support.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.9 percent at 1,516.25 points, its highest level since August.
However, volumes were just 65 percent of its 90-day average. Wall Street was closed for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.
The euro edged towards seven-month lows against the dollar as investors bet that the ECB would ease policy again in December.
“Expectations surrounding the ECB are running very high and this is driving European markets higher, weakening the euro and helping them do better than U.S. stocks,” Cassa Lombarda head of research and investment, Marco Vailati, said.
“I think and hope the ECB will not disappoint but I realise that it won’t be that easy.”
Infineon climbed 12.9 percent after the chip maker posted higher-than-expected quarterly operating results and promised an increase in revenue for its latest financial year at the high end of analysts’ expectations.
“Infineon has proven surprisingly resilient and is executing very well,” Kepler Cheuvreux analyst, Bernd Laux, said, keeping his “hold” recommendation. “Based on its new guidance, the shares are not expensive any more.”
The company also proposed a higher-than-expected dividend increase to 0.20 euro a share.
The bullish update boosted other chipmakers, with STMicro up 5.4 percent and Dialog Semiconductor up 4 percent.
Remy Cointreau fell 3 percent after reporting a 7.3 pct fall in like-for-like current operating profit in the first half, reflecting soft Chinese demand for its premium cognac.
Sector peer Royal UNIBREW, rose 7.7 percent after reporting quarterly results above analysts’ expectations and raising its medium-term core profit target.
Shares in renewable-energy firm Abengoa slumped for a second day as insolvency proceedings continued. A potential investor backed out of a 350-million-euro deal to recapitalise the company. The stock was down 30 percent, after half its market value was wiped out on Wednesday.
Mining stocks were among the top gainers, rising 2.1 percent, as base metals prices rallied after falling to multi-year lows this week.
Auto stocks were also in demand, with the sector index up 2.3 percent, benefiting from weakness in the euro.
The sector was also helped by gains in Volkswagen, which rose 3.5 percent, its tenth straight day of gains.
Baader Bank Helvea confirmed its “hold” rating on the stock and said it remained cautious because of uncertain costs around VW’s emissions scandal.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up RCH/EUROPE (Editing by Louise Ireland)