European shares gained in early trade on Thursday, boosted by decent corporate results and PMI data after the U.S. Federal Reserve provided no further guidance over the status of its stimulus programme. Reuters reported. Dutch retailer Ahold was the top FTSEurofirst 300 gainer, up 4.7 percent, after reporting higher-than-expected operating profit for the second quarter. The results helped the European market to shrug off weakness in Asian stocks, which fell after the Fed\'s minutes offered little clarity over the timetable for a slowdown of its stimulus programme, prompting strengthening in the dollar. The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.7 percent at 0800 GMT, putting a halt to three straight days of falls. The index remains 4 percent off a five-year high hit in May, when fears over stimulus reduction first hit the market. Stocks bounced after German PMI also painted a stronger picture of its economy, coming in ahead of expectations and combining with the bullish data out of China to help to counteract a weaker PMI picture in France.