European shares up on ECB measures anticipation

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 percent

* Anticipation grows of ECB anti-crisis measures

* Banks among the top gainers

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

By Harpreet Bhal

LONDON, Dec 2 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares edged up on
Thursday as speculation grew that the European Central Bank
(ECB) could outline new measures to try to prevent the euro zone
debt crisis spreading, with banking stocks among the risers.

By 1150 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: )
index of top shares was up 0.4 percent at 1,093.28 points,
having earlier hit a one-week intraday high at 1,099.69 points.

The ECB was expected to keep its unlimited liquidity
operations in place for longer. Also, expectations grew that the
central bank could announce new anti-crisis measures including
government-bond buying on a larger scale to contain the debt
problems. [ID:nLDE6B01V3]

Detail of any new measures were expected to be announced at
a news conference at 1330 GMT following the central bank’s
monthly rate-setting meeting.

“There is a big weight of expectation towards (ECB President
Jean-Claude) Trichet at the moment and on how the ECB is going
to solve any problems that might impact Spain or Portugal, which
is where most people see risk as being weighted towards,” said
Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index.

Banks rose, with Spanish banks Banco Santander (SAN.MC: ) and
BBVA (BBVA.MC: ) up 2.5 percent and 2 percent respectively, while
Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: ), Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: ) and Royal
Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) rose 1.0-2.1 percent.

Falls in heavyweight pharmaceuticals capped gains on the
index, with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: ) down 0.8 percent after the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined to approve the
drugmakers prostate drug Avodart. [ID:nN01173805]

The sector was also pressured by a negative note from UBS
which cut its strategy rating on European pharmaceuticals to
“underweight” from “neutral”.

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ), Germany’s DAX
(.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) were up 0.1-0.6 percent,
while the Thomson Reuters Peripheral Eurozone Countries Index
(.TRXFLDPIPU: ) added 1.3 percent.

STRONG AUTOS

Carmakers were also higher, boosted by data showing U.S.
auto sales rose a stronger than expected 17 percent in November.
Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: ), Porsche (PSHG_p.DE: ) and Renault
(RENA.PA: ) rose 2.3-2.5 percent.

Investors will await further data from across the Atlantic
for fresh clues on the progress of the economic recovery,
including U.S. pending home sales and weekly jobless data.

Analysts said the market was also being underpinned by
growing optimism over the pace of economic recovery, a day after
U.S. data pointed to an improving labour market and growth in
the manufacturing sector. [ID:nN01127417]

“The economic data from the States is increasingly
reassuring,” said Bernard McAlinden, investment strategist at
NCB Stockbrokers in Dublin, adding the euro zone debt crisis was
preventing markets pushing higher despite a brightening economic
outlook.

Among individual movers, Dutch mail and logistics firm TNT
(TNT.AS: ) rose 5.3 percent after detailing the planned separation
of its Express activities from its mail activities and said it
would keep a 29.9 percent stake in the Express unit.
[ID:nLDE6B106N]
(Additional reporting by Brian Gorman; Editing by Dan Lalor)

European shares up on ECB measures anticipation