March 16, 2010 / 3:40 PM / 10 years ago

Europe stocks rise as S&P affirms Greece ratings

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 1 pct, reverses Monday’s losses

* Banking stocks rally after S&P affirms Greece ratings

* Oils, miners surge alongside commodity prices

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, March 16 (Reuters) - European stocks extended their gains in late trading on Tuesday after Standard & Poor’s affirmed its credit ratings on Greece’s debt.

At 1525 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares was up 1 percent at 1,062.15 points.

S&P said the Greek government’s recent deficit reduction measures were supportive of the ratings, though it said the outlook was negative, suggesting a downgrade is still likely over the long term.

European banking stocks were among the top gainers, with BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) up 2.4 percent and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) up 2.3 percent.

Investors were also relieved after EU finance ministers backed plans to help debt-stricken Greece financially if it needs aid. Late on Monday, ministers from the 16-country euro zone said they had agreed on the “technical modalities” that would allow aid to be quickly rolled out. [ID:nLDE62F0D9]

“Sovereign debt problems are not an issue for equities anymore. The market realised that the problems will be addressed, so Greece is not an issue at this juncture,” said Franz Wenzel, strategist at AXA Investment Managers in Paris.

Energy stocks also gained ground, with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) up 2 percent and Total (TOTF.PA) up 1 percent, as U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 surged $2 to $81.80 a barrel. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson, editing by Will Waterman)

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