LONDON Jan 4 European shares extended gains to
set a new 22-month high on Friday, buoyed by supportive U.S.
economic data and led by rig contractor Transocean.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares
provisionally ended 0.2 percent higher at 1,165.21 points, its
highest closing level since early 2011.
"You have got a reduction in the tail risks that have been
worrying people. Lower risks, combined with a likely upside
earnings potential, make us positive on the market," Graham
Bishop, senior equity strategist at Exane BNP Paribas, said.
The risks of a U.S. "fiscal cliff", a Chinese hard landing
and a breakdown of Europe had diminished following strong
actions by the authorities, he said, adding the fourth-quarter
earnings season should be slightly better because the
macroeconomic situation had been improving.
Latest data showed the vast U.S. services sector grew at its
fastest clip in 10 months in December, boosted by a rise in new
orders, while U.S. jobs outside the farming sector grew by
155,000 last month, slightly higher than analysts' expectations.
Transcocean led gainers, up 5.9 percent, after it reached a
deal late on Thursday with the U.S. Department of Justice to
settle claims related to the giant BP oil spill in the
Gulf of Mexico. BP stock, meanwhile, rose 2.7 percent.