* Chipmakers, Ericsson power tech sector
* Banks rise as China data lifts German bond yields
* France's CAC at near 11-month high
* Danone drops after results
(Updates to close)
By Agamoni Ghosh
April 17 (Reuters) - European shares ended higher on Wednesday led
by a rally in auto stocks as better-than-expected sets of data from
China assuaged investor concerns about the health of the world's
The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained for a sixth straight
session with Frances' CAC hitting a nearly 11-month high, while
London's FTSE 100 ended flat.
China's economy grew at a steady 6.4 percent pace in the first
quarter, defying expectations for a further slowdown, as industrial
production surged and consumer demand showed signs of improvement.
Analysts however, said it was too early to call a sustainable
turnaround there, and further policy support would be needed to
The positive China data spurred demand for carmakers and suppliers
in the region with the auto index touching near seven-month highs.
"It all has to do with better data from China because car
imports basically collapsed in China recently, so if retail sales are
better its a hope that car sales will pick up," said Teeuwe
Mevissen, Senior Market Economist at Rabobank.
The data also pushed Germany's 10-year government bond yield to a
four-week high, helping banks record a fifth-straight day of gains.
In contrast to all that confidence, the German government
significantly lowered the country's economic growth for 2019 on
account of cooling global economy, increased trade conflicts and
Brexit affecting Germany's exports.
"Despite the lower growth outlook for Germany there remains
risk-on sentiment," said Mevissen.
Among individual stocks, power grid maker ABB was among the top
gainers on STOXX after Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer quit the
Swiss industrial group as the board and major shareholders look for a
A slew of positive news including upbeat earnings from
semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holding , the China data and a
Qualcomm-Apple settlement drove chipmakers in the region higher.
AMS , STMicro , Siltronic and Infineon Technologies -
were all up between 1.7 percent and 5 percent boosting the tech index .
Also lifting the tech sector was Ericsson's 4.7 percent climb
after the company beat first-quarter result forecasts and raised
full-year outlook for the global networks market.
Losses in healthcare and basic resources were among the
biggest drags with BHP Group PLC , falling 2.5 percent after cutting
its forecast for iron ore output, a day after rival Rio Tinto
slashed its output guidance.
Bunzl was the worst performer on the pan-European index, down
over 9 percent after the business supplies distributor said
first-quarter growth slowed as the grocery and retail business in its
biggest market - North America - remained sluggish.
Danone slid after the French food group's first-quarter sales
slowed on weaker demand for infant formula products in China and a
consumer boycott in Morocco.
Finland's Valmet fell 6 percent after Berenberg cut its rating
on the stock to "sell" on orders and cash concerns.
(Reporting by Medha Singh, Susan Mathew and Agamoni Ghosh in
Bengaluru; Editing by John Stonestreet and Angus MacSwan)
((Agamoni.Ghosh@thomsonreuters.com; +918067491130; Reuters Messaging: Agamoni.Ghosh.email@example.com))