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Europe stocks rise ahead of cliffhanger Greek vote

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 16:00 hrs

PARIS, June 15 (Reuters) - European stocks ended higher on Friday, with a key euro zone index hitting its highest closing level in nearly four weeks, as mounting hopes of coordinated action by the world's top central banks eclipsed jitters over Greece's cliffhanger vote on Sunday.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares unofficially closed 1 percent higher at 993.34 points, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index ended 1.4 percent higher at 2,178.56 points.

G20 officials said central banks around the world were standing ready to stabilise financial markets by providing liquidity in case election results in Greece revive fears of a messy exit from the euro zone and cause financial upheaval.

Shares in financial institutions paced the gains, with ING Groep adding 5.5 percent, Barclays gaining 4 percent and BNP Paribas rising 4.2 percent.

"The idea was to buy ahead of the Greek vote, as people have been pricing in 'Armageddon'. This strategy has paid off over the past two weeks and we could see more gains early next week," Louis Capital Markets trader Jerome Troin-Lajous said.

"But people should quickly cash in the gains after that, as the Fed on Wednesday will probably dampen hopes of an imminent QE3 in my view."




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