European shares mount fresh attack on 2012 highs

LONDON Wed Dec 5, 2012 3:08am EST

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 stocks.

By 0805 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was up 4.27 points, at 0.4 percent at 1,125.52 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.

"There was positive news out of China as well as Ping An sale confirmed by HSBC. 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.

Europe's largest bank HSBC gained 0.7 percent after A conglomerate controlled by Thailand's richest man, Dhanin Chearavanont, has bought a minority stake in China's Ping An Insurance for $9.38 billion from global bank HSBC.

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