European shares return near multi-year highs, Greek stocks advance
* European equities boosted by ECB's Coeure comments
* ECB to front-load asset purchases in May, June -Coeure
* Greek shares rise on prospect of deal with creditors
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) - European shares rose back to near multi-year highs on Tuesday after a European Central Bank (ECB) policymaker said the ECB would front-load an asset purchase scheme, aimed at boosting growth in the region.
Athens' stock market, which has consistently underperformed this year due to worries over Greece's debt situation, also rose after the Greek labour minister said Athens would soon conclude a deal with foreign creditors that could unlock more loans to the cash-starved country.
Benoit Coeure, an executive board member at the ECB, said the ECB would front-load asset purchases in May and June due to low market liquidity in July and August.
Coeure added that a recent European government bond market selloff was a normal correction but the rapidity of the adjustment was worrisome and indicated "extreme volatility" in the market.
European shares wobbled last week in the wake of the European government bond sell-off, but the region's stock markets have remained propped up by the ECB's economic stimulus programme. Continuación...