European shares up on prospect of cash for Greece

LONDON Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:32pm GMT

LONDON Nov 20 (Reuters) - European equities edged higher on Tuesday, building on the previous session's strong gains and bolstered by expectations that euro zone finance ministers will approve the next tranche of bailout cash for Greece.

Top officials signalled they were hopeful the Tuesday evening meeting would result in a solution, avoiding a fresh escalation of the euro zone crisis and the threat of bankruptcy for Athens. However, issues remain and a deal on debt reduction may be subject to more negotiations.

"It's just short covering ahead of this evening's meeting of EU finance ministers," said Markus Huber, trader at ETX.

"They have basically promised that they would find a solution ... It's a typical pattern - ahead of the meetings you always go up, and then they usually disappoint and we come back the next day."

The FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed up 0.3 percent at 1,094.35 points, with its rebound from a session low of 1,087.08 points also supported by stronger than expected U.S. housing starts data and gains on Wall Street.