European stocks rally after ECB unveils more stimulus

jueves 10 de marzo de 2016 09:21 GYT

* ECB cuts rates, lifts size of asset purchase progamme

* Banks top gainers led by Italy's UniCredit

* Aviva, Hannover Re among top gainers after results

* Lagardere slumps after results (Update with ECB, new prices)

By Danilo Masoni and Sudip Kar-Gupta

MILAN/LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - European shares rose sharply on Thursday, extending earlier gains after the European Central Bank unveiled more stimulus in a bid to boost growth and inflation in the region.

The ECB unexpectedly cut its main refinancing rate to zero, and pushed the interest rate on the deposit facility deeper into negative territory, while lifting the size of its asset purchase programme by more than expected.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 2.5 percent by to touch its highest level since Jan. 13, and euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index rose 3.6 percent.

The ECB's decision, the second stimulus cocktail in three months, put the euro under pressure, and this in turn helped European stocks, since a weaker euro makes European companies' exports more affordable overseas.   Continuación...