European stocks set for yearly gain after late rebound
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct, set for 3.9 pct yearly gain
* FTSE 100 only major European index to eye yearly fall
* Ballast Nedam surges on merger/acquisition approaches
By Francesco Canepa and Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Dec 31 (Reuters) - European shares edged higher on Wednesday, keeping most regional indexes on track to end a tumultuous year with modest gains after a late rebound.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European shares, up 0.3 percent at 1115 GMT, was sitting on a 3.9 percent gain for the year.
The index has surged more than 7 percent since Dec. 16, with many investors buying on the premise that the European Central Bank will announce sovereign bond purchases early next year in a bid to revive inflation in the currency bloc.
A quantitative easing (QE) programme, the prospect of which has met with resistance from euro zone paymaster Germany, is seen by investors as boosting the attraction of equities by further lowering bond yields.
"Our take is that ECB QE will be announced in March," said SteppenWolf Capital chief investment officer Phoebus Theologites. "Despite the objections of the Germanic bloc, we view QE as unavoidable." Continuación...