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Revenue beats shine for European firms as reporting season nears halfway mark

LONDON May 4 With roughly half of Europe's major companies having reported first-quarter results, more than 80 percent of the firms that have reported are posting revenues ahead of analysts expectations, underscoring the recovery in demand that is fueling the turnaround in corporate fortunes.

Revenues, a clearer measure than profits which can often get a boost from cost-cutting, are coming in 4 percent ahead of market forecasts, with financials and energy companies delivering the biggest beats, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.

Industrial companies, which are closely geared to economic growth, in particular have seen an impressive pick-up in revenue, with more than 95 percent of firms which have reported exceeding forecasts.

Analysts have pointed to a rebound in growth in emerging markets and the domestic European economy helping construction firms and mining stocks.

Companies such as Atlas Copco, BP and BASF are among those handily beating estimates.

Overall, European earnings are currently the brightest they've been in 7 years, a fact that is drawing more investors back into the region's equity markets. Profit growth for the first quarter is expected to clock in at more than 10 percent. (Reporting by Kit Rees, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)

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