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European shares end higher on Spain

Source: Reuters - Fri 21st Jan 2011

European shares rose on Friday as Spain's plans to part nationalise its debt-laden savings banks boosted banking stocks, while forecast beating results from U.S. bellwether General Electric also improved market sentiment.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares provisionally closed 0.8 % higher at 1,148.73 points recovering after two-days of losses, though ended off the day's high as some investors took profits ahead of the weekend.

"The biggest risk to the European economies is the macro politics in the peripheries, short-term this has improved and the equity markets are now playing catch up," Philip Isherwood, head of equity strategy at Evolution Securities said.

"Companies are beating expectations and fundamentally the economic story is that we are going to see upgrades to forecasts. I expect a continued positive picture for equities."

Banks featured among the top performers. Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander gained 3.4 % and 3.8 % respectively, while Royal Bank of Scotland rose 6.5 % after a source said it may make a possible early state scheme exit.

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