Miners lift European shares in thin trade

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct; hits 26-month high

* Miners gain as metals prices rally

* Strong macroeconomic data improves market sentiment

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

By Harpreet Bhal

LONDON, Dec 13 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares rose by midday on
Monday, on track to post their sixth straight session of gains,
with mining shares boosted by a rally in metals prices as
confidence in the economic recovery gathered pace.

Trading volumes, however, were thin as the year-end holiday
period draws closer.

By 1202 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: )
index of top shares was up 0.4 percent at 1,130.93 points,
having earlier hit its highest intraday level since late
September 2008.

“We have two major economies spearheading growth in 2011,
the United States and China, and that is pushing markets ahead
and leaving the difficulties with the euro zone to one side for
now,” said Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist at Brewin Dolphin.

Mining shares were among the heaviest gainers, with Eurasian
Natural Resources (ENRC.L: ), Kazakhmyz (KAZ.L: ) and Vedanta
Resources (VED.L: ) up 1.7 to 2.8 percent, as copper prices
(CMCU3: ) hit record highs on encouraging economic data from top
consumer China.

China released a flurry of economic figures over the
weekend, which showed industrial output in November topped
forecasts while inflation climbed to a 28-month high in the same
month. [ID:nTOE6BA009]

Analysts said the data points to possible monetary
tightening measures to mop up liquidity, but the markets were so
far relieved by Beijing’s move to hold back from lifting
interest rates when it announced a rise in the minimum reserve
requirement for banks last week.

“China’s authorities are very determined that the economy
should not lose momentum so they’re spacing out their tightening
of monetary policy. Sooner or later interest rates will have to
rise … but maybe they don’t want to load too much tightening
on the economy all at once,” said Lenhoff.

Confidence over the pace of economic recovery in the United
States also helped bolster positive sentiment following upbeat
economic data last week, including strong U.S. consumer
confidence and an improving jobs outlook.

U.S. Treasuries tumbled on Monday, with yields hitting fresh
six-month highs, on signs of global economic recovery and deeper
U.S. deficits.

“… I don’t think there are too many investors willing to
take big risks in the remaining days of the year. It could mean
that people are going to secure their profits. The market could
become pretty volatile in the coming days due to lower volumes,”
said Koen De Leus, strategist at KBC Securities.

Across Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ), Germany’s DAX
(.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) rose 0.4 to 0.9 percent.

RENAULT GAINS

Among individual movers, French carmaker Renault (RENA.PA: )
rose 2.4 percent after Le Figaro said the firm would post record
2010 vehicle sales and profits, and would unveil a fresh target
for an operating margin of 4 to 5 percent in 2013.
[ID:nLDE6BC0Z7]

Within the sector, Peugeot (PEUP.PA: ), Volkswagen and Porsche
(PSHG_p.DE: ) gained 1.7 to 2.4 percent.

Other movers included British oilfield services company
Wellstream Holdings (WSML.L: ), which rose 5.1 percent after
General Electric (GE.N: ) said it would buy the company for about
800 million pounds ($1.3 billion). [ID:nSGE6BC05T]

French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA: ) shed 0.7 percent
after it extended its snubbed $18.5 billion cash bid for U.S.
biotech group Genzyme (GENZ.O: ) by six weeks, buying time to
persuade its reluctant target to talk. [ID:nLDE6B10OK]
(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Hans Peters)

Miners lift European shares in thin trade