* FTSEurofirst 300 index up 1 pct
* Oil prices turns lower into $30 area
* Retail shares, SAP rise on positive updates
* EDF drops after report over nuclear waste (Adds details, updates prices)
By Danilo Masoni and Atul Prakash
MILAN/LONDON , Jan 12 (Reuters) - European stocks rose on Tuesday, helped by solid updates from retailers and companies in other sectors but ended off earlier highs as volatile oil prices turned sharply lower.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index < .FTEU3> closed up 1 percent at 1,349.16 points to snap four sessions of declines, but below an intra-day high of 1,362.16 points.
Crude oil steadied at around $32 per barrel earlier in the session but in the last two hours of trading it fell back to the $30 area, a near 12-year low, dragging indexes off highs and pushing energy stocks into the red.
The deepening slide of crude oil and volatile Chinese stock markets have contributed to a rocky start to 2016 for global stocks. The FTSEurofirst 300 has lost more than 6 percent since the beginning of the year.
Nonetheless, the market found support from solid company updates from the retail sector and analysts expect European companies to post a stong earnings season.
“(Euro zone companies) benefit from positive tailwinds, e.g. an accelerating growth environment and weaker currency,” analysts at Credit Suisse said.
Shares in Metro rose 3.6 percent after the retailer said it had a “very good Christmas business” in Germany, with like-for-like sales up 2.1 percent..
British retailers Tesco, Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer advanced 6.7 to 1 percent, Debenhams gained 10 percent and Morrisons rose 8.7 percent after trading updates and industry sales figures.
Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket group, beat expectations for Christmas trading, reporting sales during the holidays rose for the first since 2012.
“At least on a temporary basis, Morrisons seems to have shaken off some of its relegation form and the share price has reacted accordingly,” said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown.
Britain’s second-largest department store chain, Debenhams, also posted higher-than-expected sales in the last 19 weeks, driven by strong Christmas trading and growing online shopping .
Solid updates also lifted shares in Europe’s largest software maker SAP and German food-processing technology group GEA. The two stocks ended up by 3.7 percent and 7.6 percent.
Utilities also underpeformed to fall 0.3 percent.
France’s EDF fell 4.4 percent to a record low after Exane and Deutsche Bank cut price targets and brokerage Bryan Garnier flagged concerns over future cash flows after a report by French agency Andra about the costs of managing radioactive waste. (Editing by Alison Williams)