* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 percent
* Swiss stocks top risers as Zurich reopens
* Miners hurt by profit-taking
* Next gains after trading update
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Jan 3 European shares rose on Thursday,
kept afloat largely by Swiss stocks playing catch-up with the
FTSEurofirst 300 which hit 20-month highs in the previous
session, as the Zurich stock exchange reopened after a holiday.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was 0.2 percent firmer at
1,159.15 by 0933 GMT, having jumped 2.1 percent the previous
session on relief over a last-minute deal in the United States
to prevent huge tax hikes and spending cuts that could have
pushed the world's largest economy into recession.
"In the short term I think there is not too much bad news
coming out; I think most of the hurdles ... like the fiscal
cliff have been cleared so I think the markets will be fairly
positive for the next couple of weeks," Philippe Gijsels, head
of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets, said.
The FTSEurofirst 300 leaders' board was made up solely of
Swiss stocks, led by luxury goods group Richemont,
which enjoyed a 5.3 percent advance.
Mining stocks ran into profit-taking, limiting the
index's advance, having lurched 4.6 percent higher on Wednesday
on the back of the U.S. deal alongside upbeat manufacturing data
from top commodities consumer China.
Next was a good gainer on Thursday, up 2 percent
after the British retailer nudged up its full-year profit
Next kicked off the post Christmas UK retail reporting
season by saying it expected a year to end-Jan. 2013 pretax
profit of 611-625 million pounds against previous guidance of
590-620 million pounds.
"Next is highly cash generative, tightly run and looks to
continue to execute on the basics of giving the consumer great
product and capitalising on its leading multi-channel position.
However, the sector has performed strongly over the last year
and sector rotation is likely to lead to a period of
consolidation," Seymour Pierce said in a note.
Shares in Next rose around 38 percent last year compared to
a 13.2 percent rise on the FTSEurofirst 300.
Among the laggards, Compass Group shed 1.6 percent,
with traders citing the impact of a downgrade in rating by
Espirito Santo Investment Bank.
The bank cut its stance on the British contract caterer to
"neutral" from "buy", citing valuation grounds after a strong
run in 2012, with its fair value target increased to 750 pence
from 700 pence.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50,
meanwhile, shed 0.5 percent to 2,698.37, having moved into
"overbought" territory on Wednesday when it climbed 2.9 percent
leaving it vulnerable to a pullback.
Charts, however, pointed to further gains.
"The intra-day bias remains bullish. Indeed, prices have
completed their pull-back and bounced off the former resistance
threshold at 2,665 which should now act as a strong support,"
Nicolas Suiffet, a technical analyst at Trading Central, said.
"Intra-day oscillators are a bit overbought. A pause could
shape ahead of a new up leg. Suggest buying the dip with...
2,711, 2,720 as next intra-day targets."
(Reporting by Tricia Wright/editing by Chris Pizzey, London MPG
Desk, +44 (0)207 542-4441)