European shares advance towards 7-yr high on Greek optimism
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 1.1 percent, Athens's ATG up 9 pct
* Germany's DAX index hits record high
* Santander, BP rise after results
By Atul Prakash and Blaise Robinson
LONDON, Feb 3 (Reuters) - The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose on Tuesday to just below a seven-year high, lifted by hopes a standoff over Greece's debt would be resolved after its new government softened calls for a writedown.
Athens' benchmark index ATG climbed 9 percent, with the country's banking index surging nearly 18 percent. National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank and Eurobank rose 15.1 to 21.8 percent.
Shares in other southern European markets also outperformed, with Spain's IBEX gaining 2.3 percent and Italy's MIB up 2.1 percent. The FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 1.1 percent at 1,484.45 points by 1144 GMT, while Germany's DAX up 1.1 percent, hit a fresh record high.
"The market is currently hoping that Greek negotiations of bailout terms will run quite smoothly. There are some signs that there might be a compromise in the making and there will not be any kind of default," Gerhard Schwarz, head of equity strategy at Baader Bank in Munich, said.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, in London to reassure private investors that he was not seeking a showdown with Brussels over a new debt agreement, said the new left-wing government would spare privately-held bonds from losses, a source told Reuters. Continuación...