* FTSEurofirst 300 and Euro STOXX 50 rise
* Healthcare stocks buoyed by broker upgrades
* Zodiac Aerospace falls on downgrade from Exane
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Wednesday, buoyed by expectations of new economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB), while healthcare stocks outperformed on some bullish broker recommendations.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 both advanced by 0.4 percent.
European stocks have risen to their highest level in around three months, helped by prospects of the announcement of new measures when the ECB meets on Thursday.
Investors are pricing in a deposit rate cut and an increase in the size, scope and length of the current trillion-euro bond-buying programme at the ECB meeting, and this has put pressure on the euro whose weakness has in turn given European exporters such as carmakers and luxury goods stocks a lift.
“The stock markets are still running up off the back of the euro, and expectations that ECB head Mario Draghi will announce new easing tomorrow,” said Hantec Markets’ analyst Richard Perry.
Healthcare was the best performing sector, helped by a series of broker upgrades. Roche rose 1.2 percent after Citigroup upgraded it to “buy” from “hold” while Morgan Stanley raised its price targets on Roche and GlaxoSmithKline .
However, Zodiac Aerospace fell 4.1 percent after Exane BNP Paribas downgraded it to “neutral” from “outperform”, while car parts group Valeo slipped 1.6 percent after BNP Paribas sold some shares in the company.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index remains up by around 10 percent since the start of 2015.
Today’s European research round-up
Editing by Andrew Heavens