Oil stocks, Italian banks boost European equities
* FTSEurofirst 300 index up 0.8 percent
* Oil stocks index top sectoral gainer
* Italian banks surge on likely state support (ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). Adds details, updates prices)
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) - European equities bounced back on Friday as Italian banks rallied and firmer oil prices boosted energy stocks, although a pan-European index was on track for its fourth straight week of losses.
The STOXX Oil and Gas indexes rose 1.7 percent, the top sectoral gainers, after oil advanced on expectations of increased fuel demand following firm economic indicators from the United States and Germany. Shares in BP, Total and Eni were all up by more than 2 percent.
Italian banks surged, with UniCredit gaining 7.6 percent, the top gainer in the FTSEurofirst 300 index.
Traders linked the spike to news reports that an Italian plan to set up a state-backed fund that would help troubled lenders by buying up bad loans and plug capital shortfalls should be ready by Monday.
Shares in UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank by assets, also got some support from optimism over a cash call at smaller rival Popolare Vicenza, which UniCredit is guaranteeing. Continuación...