December 14, 2012 / 8:10 AM / in 5 years

European shares edge up, back towards 18-month peaks

LONDON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - European shares edged up in early deals on Friday, with many traders expecting equity markets to gain ground before the year-end on prospects of a deal in U.S. budget talks.

Fresh signs of economic growth in China also improved sentiment towards equities.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.1 percent to 1,136.06 points, pushing the index back towards an 18-month high of 1,141.32 points hit earlier this week.

The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also advanced by 0.1 percent to 2,630.33 points.

“Every minor dip is bought up pretty quickly afterwards,” said Central Markets senior broker Joe Neighbour.

“I can’t really see any big sell-off between now and the end of the year. I expect the markets to continue to grind higher,” he added.

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