By Gilbert Kreijger and Clare Baldwin
AMSTERDAM/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - European technology shares rose sharply on Thursday after positive outlook comments from chip maker Texas Instruments <TXN.N> and chip equipment firm ASML <ASML.AS><ASML.O>.
Dutch ASML increased its sales outlook on Thursday, citing improved expectations of consumer demand and higher chip prices in some markets, while Texas Instruments on Wednesday raised its forecast for third-quarter earnings and sales.
"Investors are looking for signs to strengthen the underlying positive mood on the market," said Hannu Rauhala, analyst with Pohjola Bank.
Texas Instruments said it was expecting stronger revenue than it had forecast in July in the third quarter, in every segment -- boosting shares in its key client Nokia <NOK1V.HE>.
Shares in the world's top cellphone maker were 1 percent higher at 1040 GMT, with chip makers STMicroelectronics <STM.PA> up 1.8 percent and Infineon <IFXGn.DE> up 3.1 percent, lifting the DJ Stoxx European technology shares index 1.1 percent higher.
Shares in ASML, the world's largest maker of semiconductor lithography machines, which map out electronic circuits on silicon wafers, rose to the highest level since late 2007 after it raised its sales forecast.
ASML said it expected sales above 500 million euros ($728.9 million) in both the third and fourth quarters this year. It had said in July it expected third-quarter net sales of around 450 million euros.
"The second-half outlook for consumer goods has improved compared with the first half. Expectations are turning positive," an ASML spokesman said.
Late on Wednesday, Texas Instruments raised its earnings estimate to 37-41 cents per share from a previous 29-39 cents, surpassing forecasts of 36 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
And it hiked its third-quarter revenue forecast to $2.73 billion-$2.87 billion from a previous $2.5 billion-$2.8 billion. Analysts had expected $2.68 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.
The two companies' improved outlooks were the latest sign of a possible consumer rebound, after top chipmaker Intel Corp <INTC.O> raised its outlook for third-quarter revenue and PC-maker Dell <DELL.O> beat earnings expectations last month.
Chipmakers have suffered as the economic downturn has dried up demand for personal computers, cell phones and other electronics. The Semiconductor Industry Association forecast in June that chip sales would fall 21.3 percent to $195.6 billion in 2009.
The top contract chipmaker TSMC <2330.TW><TSM.N> posted a 7 percent year-on-year fall in August sales on Thursday, but analysts said the company is on track to reach its third-quarter sales target due to rising technology demand.
On Tuesday, its cross-town rival UMC <2303.TW> <UMC.N> posted an 11 percent annual rise in its August sales.
(Additional reporting by Baker Li in Taipei, Writing by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Rupert Winchester and Hans Peters)