European equity rally gathers pace
European shares climbed to a three-week high in thin volumes today, extending a strong two-week rally fuelled by record inflows from an increasing number of investors betting on the region's economic recovery.
Data showing brisk lending in China, the world's biggest metals consumer, boosted miners, with BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata rising 1.2 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. The European mining index, was among the top sectoral gainers, up 1.1 percent, while Britain's commodity-heavy FTSE 100 rose 1 percent.
The FTSEurofirst 300 of top European shares ended 0.4 percent higher at 1,337.06 points, the highest close since late January. However, volumes on the index, which has gained in eight of the past nine sessions, were just 69 percent of its 90-day daily average due to a holiday in the United States.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index, meanwhile advanced 0.36 percent to close on 2,939.63 points.
Japan's Nikkei stock average edged up, taking heart from gains on Wall Street, although trade was choppy after weaker-than-expected economic growth data soured investor sentiment.
The Nikkei ended 0.6 percent higher at 14,393.11, snapping a two-day losing streak. Earlier in the session, the benchmark shed as much as 0.7 percent to hit a 1-1/2-week low of 14,214.60 following the gross domestic product data, before short-covering helped it erase losses.