LONDON, April 24 European shares chalked up a
fourth straight session of gains on Wednesday, helped by some
upbeat corporate results and mounting speculation about further
easing of monetary policy in the euro zone.
British insurer Standard Life and Portuguese retailer
Jeronimo Martins led gainers, surging 8.3 percent and
6.6 percent, respectively, after announcing strong first-quarter
They topped the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index
, which provisionally closed 0.7 percent higher at
The index extended gains in afternoon trade as dovish
comments by the European Central Bank's Vice President, Vitor
Costancio, fuelled trader talk of an interest rate cut next week
to stimulate the economy after weak German data earlier on
The FTSEurofirst 300 has been swinging in a 4 percent range
this month as mixed economic reports were countered by central
bank stimulus expectations and some stronger-than-expected
"We feel the pull backs in equity markets are likely to be
frequent and ongoing but shallow and short lived," Oliver
Wallin, investment director at Octopus Investments, said.
"In Europe, we simply feel there is more risk and so are
more wary, hence (we have a) slight underweight. However, ...
the ECB continue to provide the support."