* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.6 pct, hits 7-year high
* German GDP grew by 0.7 pct in Q4, more than expected
* Greek markets rally on hopes of debt negotiation progress
* ArcelorMittal rises as details on debt reassure
By Alistair Smout and Blaise Robinson
LONDON/PARIS, Feb 13 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Friday, boosted by robust growth figures from Germany that sent the country’s blue-chip DAX index to a record high and a recovery in Greek stocks.
At 1125 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.6 percent at 1,502.25 points, hitting a seven-year high. Germany’s DAX was up 0.6 percent, touching a record high at 11,013.850.
Data from Germany showed the economy grew by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, much stronger than expected, with domestic demand lifting Europe’s largest economy out of its mid-year lull.
“The GDP numbers from Germany have picked up this morning. It’s extremely reassuring that it’s not losing momentum while the Greece situation remains unresolved,” Veronika Pechlaner, European equity fund manager at Ashburton, said.
Greek banking stocks jumped 8 percent, extending their recent rebound from a 75 percent slump since last March, as investors began to bet that a meeting on Monday could see Athens reach a deal with its creditors.
National Bank of Greece was up 11 percent and Bank of Piraeus up 6.3 percent, while the leading ATG index gained 3.7 percent.
“A lot of people involved in the discussions are keen to keep the tone as positive as they can,” Ashburton’s Pechlaner said.
“The market is using every little snippet on Greece to make an inference of the result. Markets for now think a deal will be made, but that might be complacent.”
Markets have also been supported by strong earnings. Half way into Europe’s earnings season, results have been strong overall, with 55 percent of companies listed on the STOXX 600 exceeding analyst forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.
In a typical quarter, 48 percent of companies beat estimates. Fourth quarter earnings are expected to grow 20.3 percent.
Commodity related stocks are in focus this earnings season in the face of slumping prices, with Seadrill dropping over 8 percent after the world’s third-biggest offshore driller cut $1.1 billion worth of Petrobras orders from its backlog due to the Brazilian firm’s troubles.
However, shares in Aker Solutions surged 15.8 percent after the Norwegian oil services firm posted fourth-quarter earnings well above expectations.
Shares in ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest producer of steel, were up 3 percent, reversing early losses. The group said on Friday its profit would fall in 2015, rather than improve as expected, although details about the group’s debt reassured investors.
“People knew about the low iron ore price but the low debt was a positive surprise,” ING analyst Jaap Kuin said.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels; Editing by Toby Chopra)