(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)
* FTSEurofirst 300 and Stoxx 600 both up 0.7 pct
* Technology index hits highest since early Jan
* SAP, ASML among top gainers; Anglo American down
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) - European shares advanced on Wednesday, with the technology sector leading the market higher after SAP and ASML Holding reported forecast-beating quarterly results.
Shares in SAP, Europe’s largest software company, rose 4.7 percent as unexpectedly strong growth in high-margin packaged software licenses fuelled its quarterly earnings. Its second-quarter operating profit rose 9 percent.
ASML Holding, a key supplier to major semiconductor makers, was up 3.5 percent after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit as customers started taking shipments of its newest tool.
“So far, European earnings have been better than expected, with investors focusing on company guidance to form a view on the market’s likely direction,” Christian Stocker, equity strategist at UniCredit in Munich, said.
“The market is definitely getting some boost, at least today, from some strong results from companies like SAP, with the technology sector leading the market higher.”
The STOXX Europe 600 Technology index was up 2.6 percent, the top sectoral gainer. It has surged nearly 10 percent since the start of last week and is heading for its best 2-week gain in more than seven years, mainly on the back of a sharp rally in ARM Holdings this week.
ARM spiked 41 percent on Monday after Japan’s SoftBank agreed to buy Britain’s most valuable technology company for $32 billion in cash.
The sector also got some support after Microsoft reported on Tuesday a 2.1 percent rise in quarterly adjusted revenue as growth in its cloud business helped to offset weakness in the personal computer market.
The pan-European STOXX Europe 600 and the FTSEurofirst 300 index were both up 0.7 percent by 0855 GMT. They have gained around 10 percent since a post-Brexit low hit in late June.
Some other firms also rose on positive updates. Lonza shares rose 5.4 percent, the top gainer in the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300, as the Swiss speciality chemicals and life sciences group raised its guidance for 2016 after reporting the strongest earnings growth in its history during the first six months.
Orpea, which runs clinics and homes for the elderly, rose 5.1 percent after lifting its full-year target. It also said sales in the second quarter to June 30 had risen 20 percent, boosted by acquisitions and solid demand for its services.
However, gains were capped by weaker miners, with the European Basic Resources index falling 1.2 percent, the worst sectoral performer, as prices of metals dropped.
Anglo American fell 6.1 percent after lowering its full-year guidance, while BHP Billiton was down 2.1 percent after it fell 3 million tonnes short of its iron ore production guidance for fiscal 2016.
Finnish ship engine and power plant maker Wartsila fell 5 percent after reporting weaker-than-expected quarterly profit and order intake, citing tight competition in the energy markets and overcapacity of ships.