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Europe shares close higher

Source: Reuters - Tue 29th Sep 2009

European shares closed higher on Tuesday with banks gaining after BNP Paribas raised capital to shake off government influence and with U.S. house prices rising further.

The pan-European FTSEuro first 300 index rose 0.2 percent to a provisional close of 1,002.92 points.

The benchmark index is up more than 55 percent from its lifetime low of March 9, as investors have become more confident on the prospects of economic recovery. It has risen 18 percent this quarter, on track to post its best quarterly rise in almost a decade.

"We remain cautious based on our view that the rally has been driven by government stimulus" said Jeremy Batstone-Carr, strategist at Charles Stanley.

"I'm not convinced that the market as the ability to maintain these kinds of levels. The data is beginning to roll over. Valuation metrics indicate that there is scope for a pronounced pullback. We've come too far, too fast."

Financials were standout gainers, with BNP Paribas up 1.8 percent as investors welcomed its move to launch a 4.3 billion euros (3.9 billion pounds) capital increase and pay back French state aid.

Barclays, Societe Generale and UniCredit rose between 1.3 and 2.2 percent.

On the downside, miners were out of favour as metal prices eased. BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Lonmin and Xstrata were down 0.6-3.2 percent.

U.S. single-family home prices in July rose from the previous month, surpassing forecasts and bolstering the case for housing market stability after a three-year plunge. The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 1.6 percent in July from June, more than triple the estimate of a 0.5 percent rise found in a Reuters poll. 

But U.S. consumer confidence fell unexpectedly as the worst job prospects in 26 years fuelled worries over personal finances. The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes fell to 53.1 in September from a revised 54.5 in August.

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