* FTSEurofirst 300 ends 1 pct higher, hits new 7-yr high
* Germany’s DAX share index sets new record high
* InBev leads food and beverages stocks higher
* Royal Bank of Scotland falls after reporting losses
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Major European share indexes climbed to new multi-year highs on Thursday, with the world’s largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev leading the food and beverages sector higher after announcing a sharp dividend hike and a share buyback plan.
Germany’s DAX set a new life-time high, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 and the broader STOXX 600 share indexes climbed to their highest level in more than seven years, and France’s CAC touched its highest level since mid-2008.
Belgium-based InBev rose 3.1 percent after proposing a total dividend of 3.00 euros for 2014, a jump from 2.05 euros for 2013, and detailing a $1-billion share buyback plan. The STOXX Europe 600 Food and Beverages index advanced 2.2 percent, the top sectoral gainer.
The broader stock market also got some boost from a rally in mining shares. The European basic resources index gained 0.7 percent as copper hit a six-week high after Chinese trading resumed following a break. Zinc and aluminium both rose about 0.6 percent.
“Industrial metals prices have probably seen the bottom. They have been in a phase of stabilisation over the last few weeks. We assume that the downside pressure on basic resources shares has come to an end for now,” said Christian Stocker, equity strategist at UniCredit in Munich.
“We like miners from a tactical point of view as margins are recovering swiftly and valuations look relatively attractive.”
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 1 percent at 1,557.54 points, its highest for more than seven years. Germany’s DAX ended 1.04 percent higher after setting a fresh all-time peak, while the STOXX 600 was up 1.02 percent after hitting its highest level since 2007.
“I am bullish on European equities in the long run, but there is a risk of a sell-off in the near term as most of the indexes have become overbought. Equities could fall 5 to 7 percent in the next couple of months,” said Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels.
According to Thomson Reuters charts, the FTSEurofirst 300’s 14-day relative strength index (RSI) rose to a 10-year peak of about 78. A level above 70 for an index is seen technically overbought and often triggers profit-taking.
Among sharp movers, Bureau Veritas rose 7.8 percent after posting a rise in net profit and maintaining its dividend.
On the downside, Royal Bank of Scotland slid 4.1 percent after recording a 2014 loss of 3.5 billion pounds and announcing plans to shrink its investment banking operations.
Greek banks also fell on fears that the country will not be able to make debt repayments to the IMF and the European Central Bank this year. National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank , Bank of Piraeus and Eurobank were down between 2.0 and 4.4 percent. (Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson in Paris; Editing by Gareth Jones)