European stocks extended their gains on Tuesday afternoon, with Spanish stocks trimming their heavy losses, on mounting hopes of fresh action by the European Central Bank to help ailing euro zone banks, traders said.

At 15:23 SA time, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.7 percent at 990.49 points, with banking stocks such as Credit Agricole and Banco Santander trimming their losses.

ECB officials declined to comment on the market talk. - Reuters