FTSEurofirst 300 reaches seven-year high on China data, ECB eyed
* FTSEurofirst 300 closes 0.9 pct higher, hits new 7-yr high
* China data, German ZEW and QE hopes boost sentiment
* Greek shares fall as Syriza gains momentum
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - European shares climbed to a new seven-year high on Tuesday after data showed China's economic growth had slowed less than feared and expectations grew that the European Central Bank would launch a quantitative easing programme later this week.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 ended 0.9 percent higher at 1,422.79 points after touching 1,428.22, a new seven-year high. The European basic resources index jumped 2.3 percent, the top sectoral gainer, after the economic data from China, the world's biggest metals consumer.
Figures showed China's economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, its slowest pace in 24 years and just missing the official 7.5 percent target. But the data was welcomed with relief by investors who had feared a sharper slowdown.
"A slowdown in China seems to be at a very moderate and controlled pace and that's positive for the market," said Ronny Claeys, senior strategist at KBC Asset Management in Brussels. "The German survey showing investors, who drive the market, are optimistic also helped European equities."
A survey showed German analyst and investor sentiment jumped in January for the third straight month, helped by low oil prices and a weaker euro, boosting hopes for a rebound in Europe's biggest economy. Continuación...