European shares end above 1,000 mark

By Joanne Frearson

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – European shares closed above the 1,000 mark on Thursday for the first time in just over a week as investor confidence was lifted after China denied a report it would review its euro zone bond holdings.

Banks, which have been heavily hit by concerns about Europe’s debt crisis, extended gains from the previous session to feature among the top risers. HSBC (HSBA.L: ), Barclays (BARC.L: ) and BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: ) rose 2.6 to 4.5 percent.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top shares closed up 2.9 percent at 1,000.46 points its highest close in over a week, although it has fallen 10 percent since mid-April when fears over the euro zone debt crisis escalated.

“The European markets have been given a lift across the board. It seems to be on the back of China’s confidence in Europe and denial of the rumor,” said David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index.

The markets were reassured after the Chinese central bank denied a report that it was reviewing its euro-zone sovereign bonds and said Europe remained a key investment market for China’s foreign (Read more about foreign investment into China) exchange reserves.

Energy stocks were in demand as crude rose 3.7 percent boosted by the renewed risk appetite.

BP (BP.L: ) jumped 5.9 percent. The company said it was making progress with its “top kill” effort to plug its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well.

BG Group (BG.L: ), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ) and Total (TOTF.PA: ) were up 2.8 to 5.1 percent.

MAN SOARS

Among other financials, hedge fund firm Man Group (EMG.L: ) soared 10.7 percent after it raised hopes it had finally stemmed client outflows and unveiled plans to launch new funds aided by its purchase of smaller rival GLG (GLG.N: ) last week.

Prudential (PRU.L: ) rose 6.8 percent. Britain’s largest insurer denied market talk that it had pulled its $35.5 billion bid for U.S. rival AIG’s (AIG.N: ) Asian unit, after rumors the deal was off boosted Pru’s shares as well as the pound.

Looking at individual stocks, Portugal Telecom (PTC.LS: ) jumped 8.2 percent on expectations of stakebuilding after a newspaper report said Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim may buy a stake in the company to block a possible takeover bid by Spanish operator Telefonica (TEF.MC: ).

Nobel Biocare (NOBN.VX: ) was up 6.2 percent, with some Zurich traders citing takeover talk and others talking of a technical correction.

In economic news, the U.S. economy grew at a slightly slower pace than previously estimated in the first quarter but the recovery still appeared solid, suggesting the economy could withstand fallout from a European debt crisis.

Across Europe, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index was up 3.1 percent, Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI: ) rose 3.1 percent and France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) gained 3.4 percent.

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(Reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by Sharon Lindores)

European shares end above 1,000 mark