Paris - European shares rose early on Thursday, supported by diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine and by speculation that the European Central Bank could unveil further action to support the euro zone's economic recovery.

At 10:08 SA time, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.4 percent at 1,349.24 points.

At a policy meeting later on Thursday, the ECB is expected to take action to loosen lending conditions and pull inflation out of a “danger zone” that threatens to stall the euro zone's fragile recovery.

Shares in French telecom group Orange rose 4.8 percent after posting a positive profit outlook, while Deutsche Telekom fell 3 percent after scrapping its forecast for free cash flow in 2015. - Reuters