* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.7 pct, reverses Tuesday’s loss
* Marks & Spencer jumps 8.3 pct after results
* Two-thirds of companies meet-beat forecasts -data
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Nov 5 (Reuters) - European shares rose early on Wednesday, reversing most of the previous session’s losses, helped by a raft of positive company results.
British retailer Marks & Spencer surged 8.3 percent after posting a rise in underlying first-half profit for the first time in four years, beating expectations, while German chemicals distributor Brenntag gained 7.8 percent, boosted by forecast-beating earnings.
Shares in Lundin Petroleum climbed 3.8 percent after the Swedish oil and gas producer posted third-quarter earnings above expectations, while German reinsurer Hannover Re rose 1.5 percent after saying its net profit rose by a forecast-beating 21 percent.
Bucking the trend, Finnish stainless steel maker Outokumpu tumbled 5 percent after reporting a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss due to weak markets, with no improvements in sight.
About halfway into Europe’s earnings season, 64 percent of companies have managed to meet or beat profit forecasts, and 59 percent met or beat revenue forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.
In absolute terms, profits are up 13 percent versus the same quarter a year ago, while revenues are down 0.2 percent, highlighting the fact that Europe’s earnings rebound has mostly been coming from cost-cutting and lower financing costs.
At 0841 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.7 percent at 1,336.28 points.
The benchmark index fell 1 percent on Tuesday, extending losses in late trading after Reuters reported that central bankers in the euro area planned to challenge European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi over what they considered to be his secretive management style.
“The market is rising today, but without real conviction. There’s no real trend on the market at the moment, and flows from investors remain thin,” said Jean-Louis Cussac, head of Paris-based firm Perceval Finance.
“The best way to play this market is to use options, and to keep a close eye on technical levels on both sides.”
Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.6 percent, Germany’s DAX index was 0.9 percent higher, and France’s CAC 40 was up 0.7 percent.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
Editing by Susan Fenton