LONDON Nov 29 A leading European share index
hit its highest closing level since July 2011 on Thursday, led
by mining stocks, on increased optimism that U.S. politicians
would reach a deal to avoid growth-sapping austerity measures.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
provisionally closed up 1.1 percent at 1,121.32 points, while
the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index gained
1.3 percent to 2,579.85 points.
Equity markets were buoyed by comments from U.S. President
Barack Obama that he hoped to reach a deal before Christmas to
avoid the looming "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax hikes and
spending cuts that could hit the U.S. economy.
Mining stocks, seen as among the most "risky" equity sectors
since they are more sensitive than others to changes in economic
sentiment, were the best performers. The STOXX Europe 600 Basic
Resources index ended up 2.7 percent.
"It's all lining up quite nicely for a strong end to the
year. It's still 'risk-on' for us," said MB Capital trading
director Marcus Bullus, who said he was eyeing a breach of 7,475
points on Germany's DAX index as an important near-term
positive signal. It stood late Thursday at around 7,400 points.