* FTSEurofirst 300 rises 1 percent
* Sodexo rallies after solid update, buyback
* Today’s European research round-up at RCH/EUROPE
By Danilo Masoni
MILAN, Nov 19 (Reuters) - European shares rose to three-month highs on Thursday, helped by food and facilities group Sodexo rallying after a solid update and a share buyback announcement.
The market was also helped by indications from the U.S. Federal Reserve that the U.S. economy was strong enough to cope with an interest rate hike.
Expecations of more monetary support from the European Central Bank (ECB) next month added to that.
“Sentiment is positive thanks to signs of solid economic growth with the U.S. economy nearing full employment,” Alessandro Allegri, Ambrosetti Asset Management CEO, said.
“In Europe and Japan, central banks are carrying on with easy monetary policy to support growth and this plays in favour of stock markets.”
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 1 percent, while the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index advanced 1.1 percent.
Sodexo jumped 10.4 percent, its biggest one-day gain since July 2004, after saying it would cut costs further to cope with a volatile global economy. It also forecast higher revenues and operating profit for its 2015-16 fiscal year.
Analysts said the results were stronger than expected, with Societe Generale also welcoming news of a 300-million-euro share buyback.
Mining company stocks were the top sectoral gainers, up 2.5 percent, with BHP Billiton leading its peers after saying its priority was to maintain a healthy balance sheet.
The mining sector was also helped as the U.S. dollar backed off highs. A cheaper dollar makes dollar-priced metals more affordable for non-U.S. investors.
Thyssenkrupp rose 3.2 percent, reversing initial losses after mixed results and a cautious outlook for the year. Brokers said that while the dividend was less than expected, quarterly adjusted operating profits had beaten expectations.
The impact of heightened security jitters after last week’s attacks in Paris looked to be easing as travel and leisure stocks rose 1.4 percent after falling on Wednesday.
Ambrosetti’s Allegri expected across-the-board gains for European shares in coming weeks but said some profit taking could kick in towards the end of the year.
He said undervalued energy plays, which rose 0.9 percent, might represent a buying opportunitiy but risks remained due to low oil prices. (Editing by Louise Ireland)