European stock markets cheer ECB QE
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 1.6 pct to seven-year high; DAX at record
* ECB to pump 60 billion euros a month into economy
* Euro zone banks, carmakers among top gainers
* Sharp drop in euro should help to fuel earnings recovery
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Jan 22 (Reuters) - European stocks rallied on Thursday, with one index closing at a seven-year high, after the European Central Bank announced it would begin buying government bonds in a bid to revive the region's economy and stave off deflation.
Banks and automakers were among the best performers, since they would benefit from cheap borrowing rates and a weaker euro.
Raiffeisen Bank International rose 6.7 percent and Credit Agricole 3.4 percent. PSA Peugeot Citroen gained 4.9 percent and Renault 3.8 percent.
"More favourable sentiment on the euro outlook should support cyclical sectors such as automobiles and banks," Roland Kaloyan, the head of European equity strategy at Societe Generale, wrote in a note. "Banks in particular should benefit from a rebound in corporate lending." Continuación...