* Inmarsat is top gainer after results
* EDF at record low on French government share sale
* Adidas reaches record high on strong outlook
* Banks supported by U.S. interest rate expectations
(Adds details, closing prices)
By Helen Reid
LONDON, March 8 European shares rose on
Wednesday, with results-driven gains from German sportswear
company Adidas and British security company G4S partly offset by
losses from EDF and Boskalis.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1 percent,
ending four straight days of losses. UK's FTSE closed
0.1 percent lower after Britain's budget statement delivered few
As earnings season builds momentum, figures show 54.9
percent of European companies have so beaten estimates, better
than the quarterly average since 2011.
Adidas rose 9.4 percent to a record high. It
increased sales and profit growth targets, after posting a 12.5
percent increase in 2016 sales.
The German sportswear company's shares have gained 65
percent over the past year while U.S. competitor Nike has
dropped 3 percent.
British security company G4S was another top gainer,
up 8 percent after it reported a cut in leverage and its first
rise in revenue in four years.
British satellite company Inmarsat rose 8.6 percent
after a 9.5 percent gain in earnings. Investors shrugged off the
firm's cautious outlook for the next two years.
Inmarsat had seen shorting of its stock increase before
releasing its earnings, Markit figures showed.
French state-owned utility EDF fell 8 percent to a
record low after the French government sold 231 million
preferential shares in the company as part of a capital increase
EDF dragged the utilities index lower. Utilities
have shown the lowest earnings growth rate of any sector this
season, with growth down 14.9 percent, I/B/E/S data showed.
Dutch marine construction company Boskalis dropped
3.9 percent after it reported its first yearly loss in two
decades on one-off charges.
Swiss security company Dormakaba fell 4 percent
after results. Vontobel analysts said despite solid first-half
results, consensus expectations were not likely to increase in
the face of rising negative FX effects.
Oil companies were the top sectoral fallers,
tracking global crude prices lower.
Banks were in demand, up 1 percent, mirroring gains
by their U.S. peers after a better-than-expected jobs report
cemented expectations for a U.S. rate increase next week
(Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Larry King)