* FTSEurofirst 300 closes up 0.7 pct
* Euro STOXX 50, DAX and CAC all gain ground
* Banco Popolare and Allianz rise
* Weak China data weighs on energy shares
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters) - European stock markets climbed higher on Monday as a rise in some major financial shares offset the impact of weaker energy stocks that curbed the progress of the British market.
The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index and Germany’s DAX both rose 1 percent, while France’s CAC advanced by 0.8 percent.
Athens’ main stock market also advanced 2.1 percent on signs that a new Greek bailout deal was on its way, although the Greek market remains down 17 percent since the start of 2015 due to the country’s debt problems.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index progressed 0.7 percent, but Britain’s FTSE 100 - which has a greater exposure towards commodity stocks than other European markets - fared less well, rising by only 0.3 percent.
“The continental European markets look a lot better than the UK at the moment. I would favour the Euro STOXX over the FTSE,” said Andreas Clenow, hedge fund manager and principal at ACIES Asset Management.
Oil stocks made little progress after economic data over the weekend from China, which is a major energy and metals consumer, showed another sharp drop in factory-gate prices and a surprise slump in exports.
However, some financial stocks fared better to lend support to European equity markets.
German insurer Allianz rose 2.6 percent after price target upgrades from JP Morgan, Berenberg and Exane BNP Paribas.
Shares in Italy’s Banco Popolare also climbed 3.6 percent after the company reported a rise in profits late on Friday.
The Euro STOXX 50 is up around 17 percent since the start of 2015, while the FTSEurofirst is also up by a similar amount.
Germany’s DAX is up around 18 percent since the start of the year, although it is some 7 percent below a record high reached in April.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Liisa Tuhkanen; Editing by Gareth Jones)