LONDON Jan 9 European shares resumed their climb towards new highs on Wednesday after an encouraging start to the fourth quarter earnings season buoyed investor sentiment.
Alcoa, the largest aluminum producer in the United States, said late on Tuesday it was optimistic demand for the metal would continue to grow in 2013, as it posted in-line profit and beat expectations on revenue.
"Expectations are quite low going into the earnings season as we saw a lot of downward guidance in the past few months. There is potential for an upside surprise to come through," Robert Parkes, equity strategist at HSBC Securities, said.
"We think earnings will grow by about 6 percent in Europe this year. We have got some topline growth coming through and a little bit of margin expansions."
At 0802 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index index of top European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,163.99 points, after falling in the previous two sessions. The index touched a 22-month high this week and is up about 22 percent since a multi-month low in June 2012.
Our top photos from the last 24 hours.