London: European shares rose on Thursday for the fourth consecutive session, with banks the major gainers ahead of a key EU summit which could lay the groundwork for a rescue package of debt-stricken Greece.
By 1:44pm, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.5% at 992.26 points.
Banks featured among the top performers. Credit Suisse rose 1% as it continued to attract client flows while sector peers have struggled, despite quarterly profits missing forecasts.
“All eyes on the EU meeting and what happens with the Greeks. It is all about a question of confidence today,” said Justin Urquhart Stewart, director at Seven Investment Management.
“The markets want to see signs that Europe can stand up and have a clear path ... We are looking for clarity of thought to stop any further worries that this is not just in the peripheral economies but other European areas.”
European Union leaders will lay the groundwork for a financial rescue of Greece at a summit, but any support is likely to require a big commitment from Athens on getting its economy in order.
Miners were in demand, with Rio Tinto up 3% after its second-half profit was well ahead of analysts’ forecasts, thanks to $2.6 billion in cost cuts.
Energy stocks also gained. French oil major Total was up 1.5% after it’s net results for the quarter was slightly over a forecast of 2.018 billion euros made by 16 analysts polled by StarMine, a unit of Thomson Reuters.