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UPDATE 2-Upbeat earnings lift STOXX 600 to record high, real estate stocks shine

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click or type LIVE/ in a news window.)


UK's Experian jumps on upbeat FY revenue forecast


InPost up after Q1 core profit jumps 36% and beats forecast


Commerzbank rises on strongest quarterly profit in decade


Euro zone economy, employment expands by 0.3% in first quarter


ABN Amro slides as weaker capital overshadows profit beat

(Updated at 1610 GMT)

By Ankika Biswas and Johann M Cherian

May 15 (Reuters) - Europe's main share index notched a record high on Wednesday, as investors cheered robust earnings from the likes of UK's Experian and Germany's Commerzbank, while rate-sensitive stocks got a boost after a softer-than-expected U.S. inflation print.


The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.6%, with Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 index also closing at all-time highs.

A STOXX fear gauge dropped to over a month low of 13.09 points.

Upbeat corporate earnings have offered a fresh boost to European shares, helping them regain lost ground this month and catch up with their U.S. peers. The STOXX 600 is up over 9.5% year-to-date, almost in line with an over 10% jump seen in the benchmark U.S. S&P 500 index.

Rate-sensitive real estate and technology stocks jumped 3.6% and 1.1%, respectively, after data showed U.S. consumer prices rose less-than-expected in April, boosting bets the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates two times this year, making room for larger cuts from the European Central Bank.

"The ECB said they're not Fed dependent, but they're certainly Fed conscious and that print gives them marginally more flexibility, especially with the view on the third rate cut towards the end of the year," said Thomas Gehlen, senior market strategist at SG Kleinwort Hambros.

On the earnings front, Experian jumped 8.1% and was the biggest boost to the main index after the credit data firm posted an upbeat annual organic revenue growth forecast. Poland's InPost advanced 6.2% following its higher first-quarter core earnings.

Boosting the healthcare index, Merck KGaA rose 4.7% after better-than-expected adjusted earnings.

Commerzbank climbed 5.1% and was among top gainers on Germany's main index after the lender reported its strongest quarterly profit in a decade, beating expectations.

Further on data, the euro zone economy grew by 0.3% in the first quarter, with Spain outperforming the broader region with 0.7% growth. The country's main index added 1.1%.

On the other hand, Finland's Neste slumped 14.8% to the bottom of the STOXX 600 after the biofuels producer and oil refiner lowered its 2024 margin outlook for renewable products.

Dutch bank ABN Amro shed 6.1% after a weaker first-quarter capital ratio overshadowed a better-than-forecast net profit.

Of the STOXX 600 companies that have reported first-quarter earnings to date, 60.7% beat estimates, versus the typical quarterly 54% beat rate, LSEG data showed on Tuesday.

Among others, HelloFresh lost 4.6% after J.P.Morgan downgraded the German meal-kit firm to "neutral" from "overweight", while Carrefour shed 4% after J.P.Morgan downgraded the French supermarket to "underweight" from "neutral". (Reporting by Ankika Biswas and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Eileen Soreng and Chris Reese)