* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct
* Vodafone up 5.7 pct as it raises guidance
* Henkel boosted by strong results
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Europe’s benchmark index of top shares trimmed its gains on Tuesday, hurt by a fall in Italian stocks and a weak open on Wall Street, but remained supported by strength in telecoms issues.
At 1549 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,358.74 points, having been up as much as 0.5 percent earlier. U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on the day.
Italy’s FTSE MIB underperformed, down 0.2 percent, led lower by a 3.8 percent fall in UniCredit. It rapidly shed gains made after an expectation-beating report just after 1300 GMT.
UniCredit’s revenues were hindered by weakness in the Italian economy, which took the shine off of stronger than expected profits, traders said.
The FTSE Italia All-Share Banks Index is down over 12 percent since the start of October.
“There’s an underlying weakness in Italian banks, and the underperforming economy is keeping the sector under pressure,” Manoj Ladwa, head of trading at TJM Partners, said.
The sector received support, however, from Monte Paschi, up 2.2 on bid speculation. Traders citing a Reuters Breakingviews article outling the rationale for a bid from France’s BNP Paribas.
Also supporting the market was the STOXX Europe Telecommunications sector, up 2.4 percent, the top sectoral gainer.
It was boosted by Vodafone, which jumped 5.7 percent after the world’s second-biggest mobile operator nudged its forecasts for core earnings higher. It reported a sharp improvement in its main quarterly revenue measurement, helped by improved demand in its big European markets.
The rally in the stock lifted other telecoms, with Orange , KPN and Deutsche Telecom all 1.8-5 percent higher.
“Vodafone is a bit of a special case, as the disposal of Verizon gives it cash in the bank. However, the update shows that the environment for telcos is a favourable one as improving technology supports revenues,” Zeg Choudhry, managing director at LONTRAD, said.
Shares in German consumer goods group Henkel rose 4.7 percent after it also posted better than expected quarterly earnings and raised its full-year forecast.
Outside the blue chips, Germany provided further earnings support after mid-cap construction group Hochtief, controlled by Spain’s ACS, rose 2.3 percent. It reported a 12 percent rise in underlying third-quarter net profit, beating market expectations.
However, in Ireland general insurer FBD Holdings Plc issued its second claims-driven profit warning in six months on Tuesday, saying it could face a full-year loss and sending its shares tumbling as much as 25 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 Hugh Lawson)