* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 percent
* China comment fuel growth expectations
* Commodity stocks lead gainers
* HSBC climbs on Ping AN stake sale
* Tesco up after it launches U.S. review
By David Brett
LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - European stocks rose early on
Wednesday, tracking gains overnight in Asia and approaching
fresh 2012 highs, after comments from China's new leader boosted
global growth expectations and fuelled a rally in commodity
By 0833 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was up 4.94
points, at 0.4 percent at 1,126.19 with the year's closing high
of 1,128.65 firmly in its sights.
Basic resource stocks and oils were good
gainers after Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping said the
country will ensure stable economic growth, sparking a sharp
rally in Chinese shares with the Shanghai Composite Index
surging 2.9 percent.
The comments from China helped investors shrug aside the
deadlock in U.S. "fiscal cliff" negotiations of some $600
billion of tax hikes and federal spending cuts.
"There was positive news out of China ... The miners are
rallying following stronger commodities and at least for now we
head higher and can put the 'fiscal cliff' on the back burner
for the time being," Jawaid Asfar, trader at SecurEquity, said.
The FTSEurofirst 300 and the euro zone's blue chip index
have rallied up between 5.5 and 7 percent since
mid-November as sentiment among investors has improved
surrounding the euro zone debt crisis and the United States'
"There is a bit more confidence creeping back in ... Subject
to any horrors creeping out of the woodwork in the banking
sector and any failure of a bipartisan agreement in the U.S.
then we may well see a positive run up in to the year-end,"
Justin Urquhart-Stewart, investment director at Seven Investment
The Stoxx50e, currently at 2606.19, this week failed to
pierce through a strong resistance level representing a peak in
March. Crossing above the level, at 2,611 points, would send a
strong bullish signal.
"The index should be able to break above its year high,
there's no selling pressure at the moment and the sentiment that
this is the start of a long-term rally is quite strong," Aurel
BGC chartist Gerard Sagnier said.
Away from the commodity stocks other riskier assets rallied
too with banks gaining 0.8 percent led by heavyweight
HSBC up 0.8 percent.
Europe's largest bank rose after a conglomerate controlled
by Thailand's richest man, Dhanin Chearavanont, bought a
minority stake in China's Ping An Insurance for $9.38 billion
from the global bank.
There was relief among investors in Britain's Tesco
, up 4 percent although still well below pre-profit
warnings highs, after the world's No. 3 retailer, launched a
strategic review of its loss-making United States chain Fresh &
Easy that could lead to a sale or closure of the business.
"There is a lot of corporates in these markets that have
been doing well and paying dividend but their share price has
been suppressed (by the broader downbeat sentiment),"