Europe shares see biggest weekly gain in 6 months

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) – European shares edged up on
Friday, recordeding their biggest weekly gain in six months,
with investors increasingly confident the nuclear crisis in
Japan and Middle East unrest would not derail global growth.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) index of top
shares rose 0.2 percent to a provisional close of 1,125.79
points. Over the week, the index rose 3.4 percent, the biggest
gain since September.

The index has regained almost half the ground lost in the
fall between a February high and a March low, when investors
focused on unrest in the Middle East and Japan’s crisis.

Drugmakers were among the gainers, with GlaxoSmithKline
(GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research), AstraZeneca (AZN.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) up
between 0.9 and 1.2 percent.
The U.S. economy growing more quickly than previously
estimated also helped shares. [ID:nN25243056].

Stock markets worldwide have benefitted from monetary
stimulus. But strategists say markets may lose momentum in the
run-up to the end of the Federal Reserve’s second round of
quantitative easing in June.

“As people anticipate the finishing of QE2, it could be a
challenging time. The last time the Fed turned off the printing
presses, the markets had a tough time,” said Andy Lynch, fund
manager at Schroders.

(Reporting by Brian Gorman)

Europe shares see biggest weekly gain in 6 months