European shares post best weekly gain in 2012
EUROPEAN shares posted their best weekly gain so far this year after rising for a fifth day on Friday, boosted by strong German data and growing expectations Greece will soon get the next dose of financial help
.Germany's BASF and Bayer led a rally in chemical stocks after a German business morale index surprised with its first rise in seven months, raising the prospect that Europe's largest economy can regain some momentum.
Investors also welcomed suggestions by the Greek government that the country's lenders were coming closer to an agreement on the next tranche of aid, sending euro zone banks and the euro higher in the afternoon.
"Market sentiment is positive," said a trader in Milan, adding that people were betting on a deal on Greek support at a meeting on Monday.
"I saw a few small buys from domestic funds on quality banks like Intesa Sanpaolo or underperformers like Banca Popolare di Milano, which is most interesting with a view to a rebound."
Popolare di Milano rose 1.1pc and Intesa closed up 1pc, with the former extending a bounce from a three-month trough hit on Wednesday.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index provisionally closed 0.6pc higher at 1,110.08 points, taking its gains for the week to 4 percent.