* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.5 pct
* KBC, Iliad boosted by estimate-beating results
* Utilities lag again as GDF, Abengoa cut guidance
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - European shares staged a modest rebound on Thursday as a boost from strong results from telecoms firm Iliad and financial group KBC was curbed by new gloomy updates in the utilities sector.
Shares in KBC rose 6 percent to the top of the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index after the Belgian financial group reported a better-than-expected net profit for the third quarter, thanks to a rise in income from its banking activities.
French low-cost telecom firm Iliad was also among top gainers, up 3.8 percent, after it added more mobile subscribers than analysts expected in the third quarter.
They helped the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rise 0.5 percent to 1,349.64 points at 0844 GMT, recouping less than half of its 1.1 percent drop in the previous session.
The index is struggling to make headway past a two-month high hit last week as investors weigh a relatively benign earnings season, which has seen around 60 percent of companies in the STOXX Europe 600 index meet or beat expectations, against a weak macro economic backdrop in Europe.
“I remain neutral because I don’t necessarily see a breakout to the upside,” Markus Huber, a senior trader at Peregrine & Black said.
“The earnings surprises have been good and look set to remain so in the next quarter but the economy remains sluggish.”
Shares in utility companies underperformed, adding to sharp losses in the previous session, as French power and gas group GDF Suez and renewable energy group Abengoa respectively cut their earnings and revenue estimates for this year.
The warnings contributed to a gloomy picture for the sector after Italy’s Enel lowered its debt-reduction target for 2014 and reported a drop in nine-month core earnings and Germany’s top utility E.ON posted a steep drop in profits earlier this week.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Dominic Evans)