European shares rose on Tuesday, led by tech stocks as estimate-topping results from chipmaker Infineon and telecommunication gear maker Nokia brightened the outlook for the sector.
Infineon and Nokia were among the top risers on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index after they reported quarterly earnings boosted respectively by demand from automotive and industrial customers and by software deals.
"Infineon's results reflect healthy conditions in the automotive markets as well as good management execution," said Guenther Hollfelder, an analyst at Baader Bank.
While demand drivers vary between different companies, Nokia and Infineon's strong numbers helped improve sentiment around the sector as a whole, which had been dented by weak updates from ASML, Ericsson and SAP earlier this month.
The STOXX Europe 600 Tech index was up 1.8 percent at 1026 GMT, outpacing all other sector indexes. Telecom equipment makers Alcatel Lucent added 2.6 percent.
Over the previous week, tech shares' earnings forecasts for the next 12 months had been cut by 0.8 percent, the steepest pace of downgrade of all sectors and nearly three times the market average at 0.3 percent.
Upbeat results by heavyweights such as Norwegian oil & gas group Statoil and Germany's largest lender Deutsche Bank also boosted the broader market.
They more than outweighed disappointing figures from Swiss engineering group ABB, which posted an unexpected fall in first-quarter profit due to weak power system orders, and from Swedish hygiene and paper products maker SCA, whose earnings rose slightly less than expected.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, was 0.8 percent higher at 1,346.34 points. The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 was up 0.9 percent at 3,193.16 points.
France's Cac 40 index was a slight laggard, rising 0.5 percent after heavyweight pharma group Sanofy reported lower than expected profits, sending its shares down 0.7 percent.
Overall, Europe's earnings season has been mixed so far. About 22 percent of companies listed on the STOXX Europe 600 index reported quarterly results through April 28, with 55 percent having beaten or met analysts' expectations.
"We haven't had any nasty surprises in earnings so far, which is good news for the market, although we're still far from a genuine rebound in profits that everyone is hoping for this year," a Paris-based trader said.
Tensions between Western powers and Russia over Ukraine kept traders on edge, with investors fearing further costly cross-sanctions after those imposed by the United States on several Russian individuals and companies on Monday.
European indexes have struggled to make much headway since hitting multi-year highs earlier this month but charts on the Euro STOXX 50 showed the index was likely to surge after this period of lull, according to Philippe Delabarre, a technical analyst at Trading Central.
He highlighted a symmetrical triangle on the index, a pattern formed by two converging lines which connect a series of sequentially lower peaks and higher troughs. Once the price breaches one of these lines, a sharp movement often follows.
"We still believe the symmetrical triangle, a bullish continuation pattern, is the main pattern to trade," Delabarre said. "Therefore, as long as the triangle's basis at 2,970 is a support threshold, our target is 3,440, corresponding to the overlap between the March 2008 low and August 2008 high."
(Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson in Paris; Editing by Gareth Jones)