European shares end sharply higher; miners advance

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – European shares ended at their highest in more than a week on Monday as strong U.S. economic numbers on Friday and encouraging earnings boosted sentiment, but Greece’s debt situation prompted investors to stay cautious.

The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top European shares provisionally finished up 1 percent at 1,103.64 points, the highest close since April 15. The index has surged about 71 percent since hitting a record low in March last year.

Optimism about economic growth and commodity demand helped the mining sector, with the STOXX Europe 600 basic resources index (.SXPP: ) rising 3.1 percent, supported by a rise in key base metals prices. Copper hit a one-week high.

BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ), Anglo American (AAL.L: ), Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ), Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ), Xstrata (XTA.L: ) and Eurasian Natural Resources (ENRC.L: ) jumped 1.9 to 7.1 percent.

“The equity markets are rising despite the problems we see in Greece. What is saving the market is the solid macro-momentum that we currently see and the good first quarter earnings season in the U.S.,” said Klaus Wiener, head of research at Generali Investments.

Figures showed on Friday that new orders for durable U.S. manufactured goods excluding transportation posted the largest gain in over two years in March, while home sales hit an eight-month high, hinting at a pick-up in the pace of growth.

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(Reporting by Atul Prakash)

European shares end sharply higher; miners advance