LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Wednesday, led by southern European indexes on fresh optimism that Greece would reach an agreement with its international lenders.
A source close to the government said Greece intends to ask on Wednesday for an extension for up to six months of a loan agreement with the euro zone, on conditions to be negotiated.
Shares in debt-laden Italy and Spain, which were seen as coming under market pressure if Greece were to leave the euro zone, outperformed.
Italy’s FTSE MIB was up 1.1 percent and Spain’s Ibex 0.7 percent, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 0.4 percent higher at 0802 GMT. Athens’ stock market was due to open at 0830 GMT.
“Greece is driving the market today,” a senior trader in Milan said.
Providing further support to the FTSE MIB, shares in oil and gas group Eni rose 2.7 percent after its fourth-quarter results. (Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Alistair Smout)