Fed stimulus defence underpins European equities
LONDON Feb 27 (Reuters) - European shares opened up on Wednesday, clawing back some of the previous session's sharp losses, helped by the U.S. Federal Reserve's defence of its asset-buying programme, though jitters over the euro zone might cap gains.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke strongly defended the U.S. central bank's monetary stimulus on Tuesday, which eased worries over a possible early retreat from bond purchases, and made for a firmer close on Wall Street.
The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.3 percent at 1,153.80 points by 0803 GMT, buoyed by banks, which were big fallers on Tuesday when the broader index dropped 1.4 percent after an Italian election stalemate revived worries about the future of the euro zone.
"After the Italian election results it seems that rallies might well be sold from here on," said Lex van Dam, hedge fund manager at Hampstead Capital, which manages around $500 million assets.
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