Spanish data, ECB help keep European stocks' rally alive

jueves 3 de abril de 2014 13:02 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 pct, rising for 8th session

* Madrid's IBEX surges after strong Spanish PMIs

* ECB opens door to unconventional measures

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, April 3 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Thursday, with some benchmark indexes hitting multi-year highs, after the European Central Bank opened the door for unconventional measures to thwart the risk of deflation.

Spanish stocks outpaced the broad market after a purchasing managers' survey for the services sector, which accounts for about half of Spain's economic output, expanded more than expected last month, fuelling hopes economic recovery is picking up pace.

Spanish banks led the rally, with BBVA jumping 3.6 percent and Banco Popular gaining 3.9 percent. Madrid's IBEX rose 1.4 percent to 10,584.1 points, a level not seen in nearly three years.

They were also boosted, along with other euro zone banks, by comments from ECB President Mario Draghi indicating the central bank was ready to act to boost inflation if necessary.

"Sooner rather than later we will see the IBEX hitting 11,000 points," said Margarita Rivas, senior investment strategist at GVC Gaesco Valores, in Madrid.   Continuación...