May 15, 2015 / 7:57 AM / 2 years ago

Rally in Roche helps to lift European shares

* Calmer bond market conditions buoy European stock markets

* Roche rallies after positive drug trial results

* Too early to fight against bull market -Citi

By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - European shares advanced on Friday, as calmer conditions in the bond market buoyed the region's stock markets, while drugs group Roche rallied after positive product results.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.4 percent. Swiss group Roche was the best performer on the FTSEurofirst 300, climbing 3.1 percent after reporting strong results from cancer drug trials.

Syngenta also edged up after industry sources told Reuters that U.S. seeds giant Monsanto was trying to line up buyers for assets worth up to $8 billion to appease competition authorities before making a fresh takeover approach for Syngenta.

Traders said signs that jitters in the bond market this week were starting to recede were also helping to prop up European stock markets.

"The sell-off in bond markets does appear to be slowing following what was quite a dramatic decline in a very short period of time," said Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam.

Record low interest rates and government bond purchases by the European Central Bank (ECB) have kept a lid on the euro and buoyed European stocks, although signs of a rebound in the currency and on bond yields caused volatile market movements this week.

Nevertheless, despite European share price drops this week, the FTSEurofirst 300 index remains near its best level in more than 14 years, while Germany's DAX is also not far behind a record high set last month.

The FTSEurofirst 300 is up 16 percent since the start of 2015.

The DAX is also up 18 percent and equity strategists at U.S. bank Citigroup said that in spite of signs of bubbles emerging in financial markets, it was still too early to go against the prevailing bull market trend in equities.

Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today's European research round-up (editing by Ralph Boulton)

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