European Shares Stall at Five-Year High


European shares extended gains to set a new five-year high for a fourth straight session on Monday, with investors flocking to buy riskier assets such as equities on fresh signs of a recovery in the global economy.

At 0707 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was 0.2 percent firmer at 1,250.68 points, the highest since the middle of 2008. The index is up more than 10 percent so far this year.

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"We have started to see a series of positive readings coming out of the United States. We are positioned for a rising market and think that the best way is to invest in financials," Robert Parkes, equity strategist, HSBC Securities, said.

Equities got strength from encouraging economic indicators. A survey showed on Friday U.S. consumer sentiment rose to the highest level in nearly six years, while a gauge of future economic activity index rising in April to a near five-year high. On Monday, Japan raised its assessment of the country's economy for the first time in two months.

Cyclical sectors were in demand, with the European auto sector rising 0.7 percent and technology shares gaining 0.4 percent.