European shares rise to seven-year high on Greek deal prospects
* Ct. Agricole rallies after profits beat forecasts
* FTSEurofirst 300 rises to set new seven-year high
* Athens to submit loan request, buying more time
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Expectations that Greece would reach an agreement with its international lenders drove a pan-European stock index to a seven-year high on Wednesday, despite German resistance to the deal Greece wants.
Greece will submit a request to the euro zone on Thursday to extend a loan agreement for up to six months. EU paymaster Germany says Athens must stick to the terms of its existing bailout.
Nevertheless, traders said Greece was buying itself time, and Greece's benchmark ATG equity index climbed 1.1 percent while the country's banking index rose 5.7 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index advanced 0.7 percent to 1,515.90 points, at around its highest level since early 2008.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index rose 0.8 percent and Germany's DAX gained 0.6 percent to put it near the DAX's earlier record highs. Continuación...