European shares edged higher in early trade on Monday, with higher oils and pharmaceutical stocks outweighing weaker financials.

By 0944 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares was up 0.1 at 1,010.11 points. The index, which fell 45 percent in 2008, is up 21 percent this year and has gained 56 percent from a record low in March.

We are in a wait-and-see mode. We are waiting for important economic figures this week and corporate news, said Philippe Gijsels, senior equity strategist at Fortis Bank.

U.S. GDP figures are very important this week as it may mark the official end of the recession. That is something which people are looking for, said Gijsels.

With the market cautious ahead of news later in the week, defensive drugmakers were in demand. Roche (ROG.VX), AstraZeneca (AZN.L) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) were 0.9 to 1.3 percent higher.

Oil stocks were also stronger as crude CLc1, though down on the day at around $80 a barrel, was still not far from a one-year high of $82 last week.

BG Group (BG.L), BP (BP.L), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and Total (TOTF.PA) were up 0.3 to 0.8 percent.

ELECTROLUX GAINS

Electrolux (ELUXb.ST), the world's second-biggest home appliances maker, soared 8.8 percent after it posted a much larger than expected third-quarter operating profit. 

On the downside, banks reversed earlier gains.

ING (ING.AS) fell 6.4 percent after the company said it would split itself in two and launched a 7.5 billion euro rights issue to repay some of its state aid. 

They could have opted for converting government shares into ordinary shares on a 1:1 ratio, and I'm a little doubtful on why they will ask shareholders for new equity, said Paul Beijsens, an analyst at Theodor Gilissen.

UniCredit (CRDI.MI), UBS (UBSN.VX), Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) were 1 to 2 percent lower.

The DJ Stoxx banking index .SX7P has gained 56.3 percent this year, but is still down 21 percent since the collapase of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

SES (SESFd.PA), the world's second-largest satellite operator, lost 4.9 percent after it cut its full-year growth outlook after posting mixed third-quarter results with lower services revenue but reduced financing charges. 

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 .FTSE index was up 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX .GDAXI was 0.5 percent higher and France's CAC 40 .FCHI rose 0.4 percent.