European shares rally on "patient" Fed, Tesco
* FTSEurofirst 300 index rises 2.5 pct after Fed minutes
* Tesco top gainer after trading update
* Monte Paschi rallies on Santander merger speculation
* Greek shares lag on election worries
By Francesco Canepa and Atul Prakash
Jan 8 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Thursday as a strong Christmas update from Britain's Tesco boosted retailers and U.S. Federal Reserve minutes showed it was not in a hurry to start raising rates.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 2.5 percent at 1,363.07 points by 1516 GMT. The index remains down around 0.4 percent since the start of 2015.
Retailers led the bounce on Thursday, with the STOXX Europe 600 Retail index up 3.3 and Tesco 12 percent higher after it reported better-than-expected sales in the six-week Christmas period and unveiled plans to sell assets and cut hundreds of millions of pounds of costs.
"Four Christmases and four profit warnings later, it seems Tesco has turned the corner," Manish Singh, head of investment services at Crossbridge Capital, said. Continuación...