LONDON, July 18 (Reuters) - European shares scaled six-week
highs on Thursday, with banks rallying after the European
Central Bank eased collateral rules, and with strong sales
boosting the media and luxury sectors.
Banks were the top performing sector, up 2.2 percent
after the ECB expanded the list of eligible collateral to
include more asset-backed securities (ABS), boosting sentiment
on French, Spanish and Italian lenders.
"I don't know if they will really lend more but it has an
impact on the equity market," said Vincent Guenzi, chief
strategist at Cholet Dupont.
"We were missing a catalyst and this could be a good
catalyst to move the market and especially the banking sector,"
he added, forecasting that the Euro STOXX 50 could
gain another 4 percent to 5 percent by the autumn.
The euro zone blue-chip index provisionally closed up 1.2
percent at 2,713.25 points, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst
300 added 0.8 percent to 1,208.25 points. Both
posted their highest finish since early June.
Other top gainers included advertiser Publicis and
luxury goods group Hermes, who both said a strong
performance in the North American region had helped boost sales.