European shares set for best week in 10 months

LONDON Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:11am GMT

LONDON Nov 23 (Reuters) - European stocks opened slightly higher on Friday, set for their best week in about 10 months, on optimism that a funding deal for debt-stricken Greece is getting closer.

The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.1 percent at 1,103.93 by 0805 GMT, with volumes expected to be relatively light due to the half-day closure of U.S. markets post Thanksgiving.

The pan-European index climbed to a two-week high on Thursday and is up 3.4 percent so far this week, the best weekly performance since early February.

Equity investors were putting their bets on a likely deal on Greece on Monday when the country's international creditors hold more talks, and that negotiations to avert the U.S. 'fiscal cliff' of spending cuts and tax rises will prove successful.

A senior Greek government official said on Friday that Greece's international lenders have agreed on new measures to cut its debt pile further but it still has to fill a 10 billion euros gap to gain the IMF's approval.

"The market has started to drift up as the can is now being kicked down the road in the U.S. (and) Greece... Will be a quiet day today as many people in the U.S. will be on holiday," said Lex van Dam, hedge fund manager at Hampstead Capital, which manages around $500 million of assets.

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