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Bank stocks help lift European shares

European shares provisionally closed at a fresh month-high on Wednesday, helped by a rise in bank stocks such as BBVA and Santander, as expectations of new stimulus measures from central banks supported equities.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.4 percent to 1,013.89 points, while the Euro STOXX 50 index also advanced by 0.4 percent.

Financial shares were among the best-performing European stocks, with the STOXX 600 European bank index rising by 1.5 percent.

“It has been sensible for investors to buy equities during the recent times of uncertainty because it is clear that central banks are gearing up to help the markets,” said Cheviot Asset Management partner David Miller, whose firm manages around 3.8 billion pounds of assets.

The Fed is set to announce its latest monetary policy decision at 18:30 SA time following a two-day meeting, and many economists expect it to extend its “Operation Twist,” a programme aimed at pushing down longer-term interest rates in a bid to support the economy. - Reuters

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