* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.7 pct, hits fresh 2000 high
* Alcatel shares fall back as Nokia unveils bid details
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, April 15 (Reuters) - European stocks rallied on Wednesday, with one regional benchmark hitting a level not seen since late 2000, ahead of a European Central Bank meeting at which the bank is expected to affirm its loose monetary stance.
Shares in France’s Alcatel-Lucent dropped 13 percent, slipping back from its sharp rally on Tuesday as rival Nokia unveiled the details of its all-share takeover offer for Alcatel, which values it at 15.6 billion euros ($16.6 billion).
Shares in resource-related companies rallied, bouncing back from a recent drop, after Chinese figures came in in-line with expectations.
Data showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew an annual 7.0 percent in the first quarter, slowing from 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. While matching the median forecast in a Reuters poll, some analysts said it seemed stronger than data on the components of growth suggested.
Rio Tinto was up 1.6 percent and BHP Billiton up 2.1 percent.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.8 percent at 1,652.13 points.
The index has surged 21 percent so far this year, strongly outpacing Wall Street, as investors bet the European Central Bank’s asset-buying programme will support the region’s economic recovery and that corporate profits will rise.
The ECB is set to keep rates unchanged at record lows at its meeting later in the day, and is also tipped to quash talk it might scale down sooner than planned the 1 trillion euro quantitative easing scheme it launched last month.
“The effect from the ECB’s quantitative easing is massive. With the drop in the euro and the drop in financing costs, there’s a major upside potential for corporate margins in the euro zone,” said Serge Pizem, global head of multi asset investments at AXA Investment Managers in Paris.
Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.4 percent on Wednesday, Germany’s DAX index up 0.6 percent, and France’s CAC 40 up 0.8 percent.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up