European shares pick up ahead of crucial Greece talks
* FTSEurofirst 300 closes up 0.1 pct
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By Alistair Smout and Lionel Laurent
LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - European stocks rose in afternoon trading on Friday, as optimism for some kind of progress on Greece picked up ahead of weekend talks designed to push Athens into a last-minute cash-for-reform deal with international creditors.
Greek markets rallied and European equities were set for a positive end to the week as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker described the mood as "quite optimistic but not over-optimistic". "We have made progress ... There is a real chance of concluding an agreement," he said.
While short-term risks have ratcheted up, BofA-Merrill strategists said European equities were set to rise as any failure to reach agreement would likely see more, not less, aggressive intervention from authorities including the European Central Bank.
"Further out, we continue to see European equity markets higher ... The fallout from any Greek default or even 'Grexit' would be containable," they wrote in a note to clients.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.1 percent to 1,574.08 points. The euro zone's Euro STOXX 50 was up 0.3 percent, while Greek shares surged 2 percent. Continuación...