European shares rise on upbeat manufacturing data

LONDON, April 1 Thu Apr 1, 2010 4:18am EDT

LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) - European shares extended gains in morning trade on Thursday, hitting a fresh 18-month high, as upbeat manufacturing data from Europe and China boosted sentiment, with banks among the biggest index gainers.

By 0815 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares rose 0.9 percent to 1,087.77 points, having touched a fresh 18-month high at 1,088.91 earlier.

Banks were among the biggest gainers, with Barclays (BARC.L), HSBC (HSBA.L), Societe Generale (SOGN.PA), BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) up 0.5 to 1.5 percent.

A jump in output and new orders helped German manufacturing activity to expand in March at its fastest pace since April 2000, while Switzerland's manufacturing sector hit its highest level in three years and France's factory activity grew at by its fastest pace in 40 months. [ID:nLDE6300E8]

Two business surveys showed China's manufacturing sector moved up a gear last month as orders rose, signalling a brisk first-quarter GDP growth. [ID:nTOE63001J] (Reporting by Harpreet Bhal)

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