European stocks post yearly gain after late rebound
(Updates prices at provisional market close)
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct, posts 3.9 pct yearly rise
* FTSE 100 only major European index to post 2014 fall
* Ballast Nedam surges on merger/acquisition approaches
By Francesco Canepa and Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Dec 31 (Reuters) - European shares edged up on Wednesday, helping most regional indexes beef up modest yearly gains after a tumultuous 2014.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European shares was 0.4 percent higher at 1,367.88 points at the provisional close on Wednesday. That gave it a gain for the year of 3.9 percent.
The index had surged more than 7 percent since Dec. 16. Many investors bought on the assumption the European Central Bank would announce sovereign bond purchases -- quantitative easing (QE) -- early next year to revive the euro zone economy. That would lower bond yields, making equities more attractive.
"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...