European shares rise on expectation of fresh ECB action

PARIS, March 31 Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:08am EDT

PARIS, March 31 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early trading on Monday, adding to last week's brisk gains, helped by speculation the European Central Bank could ease policy while China might take steps to stimulate its economy.

At 0702 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.5 percent at 1,338.25 points, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.4 percent, breaking above its January high and hitting a level not seen since September 2008.

All eyes will be on the euro zone inflation figures, due at 0900 GMT. A surprise fall in inflation for Spain and Germany on Friday raised pressure on the ECB to take additional measures to ward off the threat of deflation, with some investors expecting fresh measures to be unveiled at the central bank's policy meeting on Thursday. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Atul Prakash)