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European shares extend gains as strong BT, ING, ASM results boost

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European shares extend gains as strong BT, ING, ASM results boost

European shares extend gains as strong BT, ING, ASM results boost
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REUTERS/Yves Herman
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European shares rose to fresh eight-day highs on Thursday as strong results from heavyweights, UK phone group BT and Dutch bank ING, helped offset a disappointing update from Credit Suisse and ASM International brought some cheer to chipmakers.

The STOXX 600 <.STOXX> rose 0.3 percent by 0847 GMT, building on Wednesday's rally when fresh optimism over the earning season helped put behind worries over slowing economic growth which sent the pan-European index close to two-year lows in October.

The UK's FTSE <.FTSE> however fell 0.4 percent as the pound strengthened on renewed Brexit optimism sparked by reports of a deal with Brussels on financial services.

BT rallied 7.1 percent after the British broadband company reported a better-than-expected 2 percent rise in first-half earnings and nudged its guidance for the full year higher.

ING rose 4.3 percent after the largest Dutch bank reported a better-than-expected profit of 776 million euros, as it continued to grow on an underlying basis despite being fined for failures to prevent money laundering.

BHP Billiton rose to a two-week high after the mining giant said it would return $10.4 billion to shareholders, sticking to a promise to hand back all of the proceeds from the sale of its U.S. shale business.

ASM International rallied 15 percent to the top of the STOXX 600 and was track for its biggest one day gain since 2009 after issuing a bullish outlook, countering fears of a downturn in the semiconductor market.

Credit Suisse was a weak spot however. Its shares fell 4.3 percent after its third-quarter net profit fell short of expectations, even after the bank said it would return to the black in the full year for the first time since Tidjane Thiam became chief executive in 2015.

Overall, European earnings are expected to have risen 14.2 percent in the third quarter, up from a previous forecast of less than 13 percent, according to the IBES Refinitiv data.

By the end of the week, around 40 percent of the STOXX market cap will have reported its quarterly results.