LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - European shares scaled new
heights on Thursday on signs of growth in Germany, the region's
economic powerhouse, which strengthened expectations that the
region's sovereign debt crisis may be easing.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
provisionally closed up 0.3 percent at 1,170.83 points - a new
closing high for 2013 and near its best level since early March
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
also gained 0.5 percent to 2,721.48 points, with stock markets
further boosted after the U.S. S&P 500 index rose above a
key 1,500 points level for the first time since December 2007.
Germany's benchmark DAX equity index advanced by
0.6 percent to 7,750.04 points, boosted by a survey that showed
that German private sector activity had risen to its highest
level in a year in January.
Dealers and investors remained confident that European
equities would rise further this year, despite signs of economic
weakness elsewhere in France.
"We've really concentrated on German equities. The economy
is still looking strong," said Mirabaud Securities European
equity sales executive Rupert Baker.
"People want to see the glass half-full," he added.