European stocks erase losses


European stocks rose today as Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the continent's two largest economies will create a working group to strengthen the euro area's fiscal and monetary union.

Mr Schaeuble today said Germany and France will seek to develop common proposals on a fiscal, banking and monetary union.

He also told reporters, after meeting with French finance minister Pierre Moscovici in Berlin today, that the two countries will look for measures to boost economic growth.

Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas both gained at least 2.5 per cent. Nokia jumped 8.1 per cent after a jury found rival Samsung had violated Apple patents.

Q-Cells surged 12 per cent after South Korea's Hanwha Group signed a deal to acquire the insolvent German company. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3 per cent to 268.77 at 2.05pm in London, after earlier falling as much as 0.2 per cent.

The volume of shares changing hands was 59 per cent below the average of the last 30 days, with the UK market was closed for a public holiday.

"Markets are more driven by political headlines than by fundamental news," said Lex Van Dam, who manages $500 million at Hampstead Capital LLC in London. "It's a very quiet market which is no surprise for a UK bank holiday. Real investors remain on the side lines."

Next month, the European Central Bank will formulate a bond-buying plan and representatives of Greece's international creditors will issue a progress report.

A German court will also announce its decision on the legality of the euro area's proposed permanent bailout fund.