* FTSEurofirst 300 index rises
* Nestle falls after disappointing results
* AccorHotels gains after beating forecast (Recasts to show shares advanced, tech stocks gained.)
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - European equities climbed to a two-week high on Thursday, helped by gains in the tech shares, although the overall earnings picture remained weak and a decline by mining stocks put pressure on the market.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was 0.5 percent higher at 1,306.37 points by 1125 GMT, touching its highest level since Feb. 4. It had ended 2.7 percent stronger on Wednesday following a rally in oil prices.
Tech shares rose 2.2 percent, the biggest gain by a sector , led up by Capgemini. The French information technology services company rose 5.1 percent after reporting a 20 percent rise in full-year operating profit and predicting a wider operating margin for 2016.
“The shares have performed poorly this year on the back of macro concerns, but the overall tone of these results is reassuring,” analysts at Credit Suisse said in a note.
Among other tech stocks, STMicroelectronics rose 4 percent after it was lifted to “neutral” from “sell” by UBS.
In other sectors, AccorHotels rose 3.9 percent after Europe’s largest hotelier said restructuring efforts and robust demand in most markets except France and Brazil helped it beat expectations.
Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM surged 8.2 percent after beating forecasts with a return to profit last year, helped by a drop in its fuel bill and growth in passenger traffic.
However, the broader earnings picture remains mixed. About half the companies in the STOXX Europe 600 index have reported results so far, and 47 percent missed expectations.
Fourth-quarter earnings have fallen 15 percent from the same quarter of the previous year, Thomson Reuters StarMine shows.
Food group Nestle dropped 3 percent, the biggest decline in the FTSEurofirst index, after it missed expectations, saying it was getting harder to raise prices in a tough economy .
“It’s a difficult environment ... Profit margins are under pressure as companies are not able to raise prices, while productivity is edging lower,” said Koen De Leus, senior economist at KBC in Brussels.
Nestle’s decline saw Switzerland’s SMI underperform euro zone indexes. Britain’s FTSE also lagged, hit by its exposure to commodity stocks. Some also cited concern Britain would exit the European Union, as Prime Minister David Cameron started talks on keeping the UK in the bloc.
Mining shares came under pressure as some investors booked profits following a rally in the previous session. The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index fell 0.4 percent, after rising 8 percent on Wednesday.
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Larry King)