THE FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares hit an 18-month closing high on Thursday, with bullish technicals, improving global economic outlook and attractive valuations raising equities' appeal.
The index provisionally finished 0.7pc higher at 1,131.64 points, the highest close since late May 2011. The index is up about 13pc so far this year and has gained nearly 20pc from multi-month lows in June.
"We still have some risks, but the magnitude of the risks have diminished and they are being handled in a better way. Equities have been quite attractively valued and that's one of the reasons why people are shifting money into stocks," Ben Hauzenberger, fund manager at Zurich-based Swisscanto Asset Management, said.
"Those companies that have quite a good set up in terms of exporting capabilities should benefit going forward. The software sector is an interesting place to be as some companies are global and their cost structures are low."
Sectors more exposed to economic growth were in demand. Basic resources index rose 1.7pc. Chemicals were up 1.9pc, helped by a 3.5pc rise in Bayer after its Eylea eye product was submitted for European Union marketing authorisation.