* FTSEurofirst 300 index up 1.9 pct
* Oil prices steady after hitting $30 area
* Retail shares, SAP rise on positive updates
* EDF drops after report over nuclear waste (Adds details, updates prices)
By Atul Prakash and Danilo Masoni
LONDON/MILAN, Jan 12 (Reuters) - European shares rose sharply on Tuesday following four straight sessions of declines, helped by steadying oil prices and solid updates from retailers and companies in other sectors.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 1.9 percent at 1,359.97 by 1441 GMT, recovering from an intra-day low of 1,331.42, its lowest since late September.
“The rebound in the European markets appears to have been driven by a slight resurgence in oil prices, which in turn has boosted the share price of European oil & gas companies,” said Daniel Sugarman, market strategist at ETX Capital.
“With crude oil prices having plummeted still further since the start of the year, investors appear keen to grab at any positive indications they can see, however small and however temporary,” he added.
Crude oil steadied at around $32 per barrel on Tuesday, recovering slightly as investors booked profits after it fell to the $30 per barrel area, a near 12-year low, on concerns about oversupply and fragile demand from China.
The market found support also from solid company updates starting from the retail sector.
Shares in Metro rose 5 percent after the retailer said it had a “very good Christmas business” in Germany, with like-for-like sales up 2.1 percent..
British retailers Tesco, Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer advanced 3.8 to 7.5 percent, Debenhams gained 15 percent and Morrisons rose 10 percent after trading updates and industry sales figures.
Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket group, beat expectations for Christmas trading, reporting sales during the holidays rose for the first since 2012.
“At least on a temporary basis, Morrisons seems to have shaken off some of its relegation form and the share price has reacted accordingly,” said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown.
Britain’s second-largest department store chain, Debenhams, also posted higher-than-expected sales in the last 19 weeks, driven by strong Christmas trading and growing online shopping .
Solid updates lifted shares in Europe’s largest software maker SAP and German food-processing technology group GEA. Both traded up by 4.2 percent and 8.3 percent.
Utilities underpeformed and were up 0.3 percent.
France’s EDF fell 3 percent to a fresh record low after Exane and Deutsche Bank cut price targets and Bryan Garnier flagged concerns over future cash flows after a report by French agency Andra about the costs of managing radioactive waste. (Editing by Larry King and Catherine Evans)