March 8, 2017 / 10:16 AM / a year ago

European shares make modest gains, masking big moves from Adidas, EDF

* Inmarsat is top gainer after results

* EDF hits all-time low on French govt share sale

* Adidas hits all-time high on strong outlook

* Healthcare stocks slide again following Trump comments (ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

By Helen Reid

LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - European shares edged up on Wednesday in early deals, with significant results-driven gains from German sportswear company Adidas and British security company G4S offset by losses from EDF and Boskalis.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2 percent by 0951 GMT.

As earnings season builds momentum, figures show 54.9 percent of European companies have so beaten estimates, significantly more than the quarterly average since 2011.

Adidas shares hit a record high, up 6.5 percent and among the top STOXX gainers, after it increased sales and profit growth targets, having posted a 12.5 percent increase in 2016 sales.

The German sportswear company’s shares have gained 65 percent over the past year while U.S. competitor Nike has dropped 3 percent.

British security company G4S was another top gainer, up 6.7 percent and at a 20-month high after it posted its first rise in revenue in four years and reported a cut in leverage.

British satellite company Inmarsat rose 6.2 percent after a 9.5 percent rise in earnings. Investors shrugged off the firm’s cautious outlook for the next two years.

Inmarsat had seen shorting of its stock increase ahead of earnings, Markit figures showed.

French state-owned utility EDF hit an all-time low in early trading, then pared back losses to trade down 6.8 percent, after the French government sold 231.1 million preferential shares in the firm as part of a capital hike.

The stock was already through 3 1/2 days’ worth of 30-day average volume after two hours of trading.

EDF dragged the utilities sector index lower. Utilities have shown the lowest earnings growth rate of any sector this season, with growth down 14.9 percent, I/B/E/S data showed.

Dutch marine construction company Boskalis was down 6.8 percent, set for its biggest one-day loss in a year after it reported its first yearly loss in two decades on one-off charges.

Swiss security company Dormakaba was down 4.8 percent, a top faller and set for its worst day in six months, after results. Vontobel analysts said despite solid first-half results, consensus expectations were not likely to increase in the face of rising negative FX effects.

Oil companies were the top sectoral fallers, tracking global crude prices lower.

The European healthcare index was down 0.3 percent, set for its fourth day of losses. Healthcare stocks dropped 1 percent on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was working on a “new system” to lower pricing in the drug industry.

Reporting by Helen Reid, editing by Kit Rees and John Stonestreet

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