* FTSEurofirst 300 index rises 0.6 percent
* Greek shares bounce back up
* Merkel sees Greek commitment to resolving debt issues
* Daimler and BMW lift auto stocks
* Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
* Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, June 11 (Reuters) - European shares climbed on Thursday, with the automobile sector rising on positive company updates while Greek shares bounced higher on renewed expectations of a resolution to its debt problems.
The STOXX Europe 600 Automobile & Auto Parts index rose 1 percent, outperforming a 0.6 percent advance on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index.
The car sector was helped by a 1.1 percent gain at Daimler after Daimler’s chief executive Dieter Zetsche said booming sales of high-margin sports utility vehicles would help it achieve a better result in the second quarter, while BMW also rose 1.4 percent after unveiling a new flagship sedan.
Greek shares rallied 6.8 percent, rebounding from a 1.1 percent decline in the previous session, while the Athens’ banking index surged 14.2 percent.
Greek shares got a boost as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Greece had told European partners it was committed to intense discussions with creditors to solve all open issues and avoid a looming default at the end of the month.
The Athens stock market has been hit this year by concerns over debt problems at Greece, which had to be bailed out by international creditors. Greece will be in default at the end of June without fresh funds to let it to repay 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund.
Athens’ main ATG index remains down by around 2 percent since the start of 2015, underperforming a 14 percent rise on the FTSEurofirst.
Gijs Nagel, director at European brokerage DEGIRO, said some investors remained concerned over the fact that Greece’s debt talks were still dragging on, and by jitters in the bond market that have pushed equity markets off their 2015 highs.
However, Peregrine & Black analyst Markus Huber was more optimistic, with many investors still expecting Greece to stay within the euro zone.
“The overall perception is that things might finally be starting to move, with a deal now more likely in the days ahead than just a few days ago,” said Huber.
Across Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.8 percent, while France’s CAC advanced 0.7 percent.
The DAX remains up around 16 percent since the start of 2015, although some 8 percent below record highs hit in April.
“I think we’re stuck in a sideways pattern over the next few months, but within the context of a longer term bull market. I don’t think we’ll have highs above those of April, but equally the lows will not be as low as the ones at the start of the year,” said Andreas Clenow, hedge fund trader and principal at ACIES Asset Management.
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Alison Williams)