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European stocks chalk up third straight session gain

EUROPEAN stocks chalked up a third straight session of gains on Wednesday as buyers snapped up recent laggards and positioned for a positive outcome to negotiations over aid to Greece.

Shares in telecoms group KPN bounced 6.5pc from a 10-year low in volume twice the 90-day average, boosted by trader speculation about consolidation in the German telecoms sector.

It was the top riser on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which provisionally ended 0.3pc higher at 1,097.69 points, albeit in thin volume as Thursday's Thanksgiving market holiday in the United States approached.

European shares turned higher in mid-morning trade on signs politicians were stepping up efforts to reach a deal to unlock financial help for debt-stricken Greece.

"Our assumptions over the next six months is, on any significant pullback, to buy Europe," Bill O'Neill, chief investment officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, said.

"I can see 12-15pc total returns for European equities next year, but that of course depends on nothing untoward happening in the euro zone and the integration process continuing."