European shares extend gains; eyes on ECB measures

* FTSEurofirst 300 rises 0.8 percent

* Miners, banks extend gains

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Brian Gorman

LONDON, Dec 2 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares rose early on
Thursday, building on strong gains in the previous session, with
investors expecting the European Central Bank (ECB) to announce
new measures to tackle the euro zone debt crisis.

At 0945 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top
European shares was up 0.8 percent at 1,097.58 points. The index
rose 2.1 percent on Wednesday, its biggest one-day percentage
gain in three months.

Heavyweight miners were among gainers on Thursday as metals
prices rose, having been boosted in recent days by strong
manufacturing data from China and Germany. Anglo American
(AAL.L: ), BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ) and Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ) rose between
1.5 percent and 2 percent.

At 1245 GMT, the ECB is likely to say it is keeping a key
interest rate on hold at 1 percent.

Also on Thursday, the ECB, under pressure to help the euro
zone contain a crippling debt crisis, is expected to announce
new anti-crisis measures, such as expanding its government bond
buying or the size of the European Financial Stability Facility.

“What we suspect the ECB will decide upon is to provide
further facilities to buy in bonds when needs require,” David
Buik, senior partner at BGC Partners, said in a note.

Bernard McAlinden, investment strategist at NCB Stockbrokers
in Dublin, said: “The debt crisis is the only thing stopping the
market breaking higher. Economic data from the States is
increasingly reassuring.”

U.S. private-sector payrolls achieved their biggest gain in
three years, according to ADP data released on Wednesday.

Spanish banks, some of which have exposure to Portugal —
tipped as the next country to follow Ireland in requiring a
bailout — extended sharp gains from the previous session.

Banco Santander (SAN.MC: ) and BBVA (BBVA.MC: ) rose 3.3 and 3.6
percent respectively.

“The most important point is the credibility of these (euro
zone peripheral) countries and for them to become fiscally
sustainable in the relevant time horizon — and there’s a
parallel banking system issue, as we’ve seen in Ireland,” said
McAlinden.

Auto stocks advanced, after U.S. auto sales rose 17 percent
in November from a year earlier, indicating a slow but steady
return in consumer demand from depressed levels of a year ago.

Porsche (PSHG_p.DE: ), BMW (BMWG.DE: ), Daimler (DAIGn.DE: ),
Renault (RENA.PA: ), Peugeot (PEUP.PA: ) and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: )
rose between 2.1 percent and 3.8 percent, extending day-earlier
gains triggered by an upbeat Nomura note on the sector.

Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ), Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI: ) and
France’s CAC40 (.FCHI: ) rose between 0.5 and 1 percent.

The Thomson Reuters Peripheral Eurozone Countries Index
(.TRXFLDPIPU: ) was up 2.2 percent.

TNT POSTS GAIN

Dutch mail and logistics firm TNT (TNT.AS: ) rose 5.2 percent
after detailing the planned separation of its Express activities
from its mail activities and saying it would keep a 29.9 percent
stake in the Express unit. [ID:nLDE6B106N]

Roll-Royce (RR.L: ) fell 1 percent after Qantas (QAN.AX: )
stepped up pressure on the engine maker to settle damages
related to an engine failure on one of its giant Airbus A380
aircraft, but said it would keep the door open for an
out-of-court settlement. [ID:nL3E6N205Y]

Later in the session, investors’ focus will turn to U.S.
pending home sales and weekly jobless data, for indications of
the strength of recovery in the world’s biggest economy.
(Editing by David Hulmes)

European shares extend gains; eyes on ECB measures