European shares gain further


European equities gained further today, with miners rising on the back of stronger metal prices following China's factory sector data, while investors bet that the Federal Reserve might signal fresh measures to support the economy later this week.

The STOXX Europe 600 basic resources index, up 2.6 per cent, was the best performer. At 8.11am, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 1.5 per cent at 930.85 points after rising 0.8 per cent yesterday.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 54.54 points, or 1.1 per cent at 5,095.30, snapping a three-session losing streak, although volumes were just 80 per cent of the 30-day daily average.

"Any data that just hints that the world is not ending is going to be well received by the market. We had better-than-anticipated Chinese factory data overnight and some of the corporate results this morning were also good," said Ian Richards, European equity strategist at RBS.

"You have also got a potential catalyst coming through on Friday and the Jackson Hole meeting is going to be in focus for the markets all this week."

Investors waited for the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's key speech at an annual central bank conference in Jackson Hole to see if he would provide hints for further measures to revive the struggling economy.

US blue chips ended slightly higher yesterday, having seen a stronger early rally fade as, after four weeks of losses, investors hesitated to take big risks without a catalyst for buying.

One possible spark for the market could be Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's Friday speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Some in the market hope Mr Bernanke will hint at additional stimulus measures that could buoy stocks.

Asian shares rose today as investors took some heart from HSBC's China flash purchasing managers' index (PMI), which, although showing China's factory sector was likely to slow slightly for a second consecutive month in August, indicated the world's number two economy was still growing robustly. Gold hit another record above $1,910 an ounce as investors continued to fret about the health of the global economy.

Across the Atlantic, July US new home sales will be released today, with the August Richmond Federal Reserve manufacturing survey due this afternoon.