European shares at multi-yr highs on stimulus hopes

LONDON, March 5 Tue Mar 5, 2013 4:32pm GMT

LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) - Europe's top equity indexes bounced up to multi-year highs on Tuesday, buoyed by the breach of key technical levels, a crop of upbeat corporate outlooks and prospects of continued stimulus from global central banks.

The European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan are all expected to stick to ultra easy monetary policy at meetings this week, following on from reassurances by U.S. Federal Reserve officials that their stimulus programme is also here to stay, for now.

A rally in the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average to record intra-day highs helped European bourses accelerate gains in afternoon trade, as did stronger than expected data on the U.S. services sector.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index provisionally closed up 1.8 percent at 1,189.09 points, its highest finish in 4-1/2 years but just short of the February 2011 intra-day peak of 1,191.56 points.

"There are many (European) stocks hitting yearly new highs and that's positive," said Riccardo Ronco, head of technical analysis at Aviate Global, noting particular strength in industrials, consumer discretionary and consumer staples.

"I am not fighting that kind of information because it is very strong. But this is a very messy market ... You should tighten your stop losses and you have to be in the right segments."

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