* FTSEurofirst 300 index rises 0.5 percent
* Greek shares up 5.6 pct, Greek banks surge 12 pct
* Automobile shares among top gainers
* Royal Mail slips after government stake sale
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, June 11 (Reuters) - European shares climbed on Thursday after strong gains in the previous session, with the automobile sector rising on positive company updates and Greek shares surging on expectations that a debt deal will be sealed soon.
The STOXX Europe 600 Automobile and Auto Parts index rose 1 percent, helped by a 1.3 percent rise in Daimler after Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said booming sales of high-margin sports utility vehicles would help it achieve a better result in the second quarter. BMW gained 1 percent after unveiling a new flagship sedan.
Greek shares rose 5.6 percent and its banking index surged 12 percent, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying Greece had told its European partners that it was committed to intense discussions with its creditors to solve all open issues and avoid a looming default at the end of the month.
“The overall perception is that things might finally starting to move, with a deal now more likely in the days ahead than just a few days ago,” said Markus Huber, senior analyst at Peregrine & Black.
The global ratings agency Moody’s said there had been no significant contagion to the rest of the euro zone from Greece’s difficulties in securing a new cash-for-reforms deal with its international creditors.
The talks have been deadlocked over Greece’s rejection of the creditors’ demands for cuts in pensions and unpopular labour market reforms as conditions for releasing frozen bailout funds. Greece will be in default at the end of June without fresh funds to let it to repay 1.6 billion euros to the IMF.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.5 percent at 1,557.22 points by 0818 GMT after surging 1.7 percent in the previous session.
Across Europe, Germany’s DAX, France’s CAC and Italy’s FTSE MIB rose 0.5 to 0.8 percent, while Britain’s FTSE was up 0.1 percent.
Among individual movers, Britain’s Royal Mail fell 3.6 percent after the government raised 750 million pounds ($1.2 billion) by selling half of its 30 percent stake in the company.
Vodafone dropped 3.1 percent as its shares traded without the attraction of its latest dividend payouts.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up
Editing by Kevin Liffey