LONDON Dec 23 European shares edged higher on
Monday, extending Friday's gain as investors focused on the
brightening prospects for U.S. growth now the U.S. Federal
Reserve has started slowing its unprecedented stimulus.
Trade this week is set to be light, with major European
markets shut on Wednesday and Thursday for a holiday.
Better-than-expected GDP data from the United States
supported gains on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 on
Friday, which closed up 0.5 percent at 1,287.61 points.
After Friday's European market close, the U.S. blue-chip S&P
500 posted a record closing high, with investors hoping
the better growth outlook meant the economy could withstand a
slowdown in monetary stimulus.
"As we head into the holiday period it looks likely that
equity markets will continue in a positive frame of mind and
edge higher against a background of positive macro data," Darren
Sinden, trader at Titan Investment Partners, said.
"However, it remains to be seen if this will be backed up by
volume and participation in what is traditionally a very quiet
period in the trading calendar."
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.2
percent at 1,290.26 points, while the euro zone blue-chip Euro
STOXX 50 rose 0.2 percent to 3,056.36 points.
In the latest example of a strengthening growth environment,
the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday it predicted the
U.S. economy would expand at a faster pace in 2014, supported by
positive economic data.
Top riser on the FTSEurofirst 300 was Bureau Veritas
, up 3.3 percent after the French testing and inspection
company bought Maxxam Analytics International Corporation,
Canada's leading analytical services provider, for CAD $650
million (447 million euros), as it seeks to expand in North