* Shares surge in last full session before Christmas break
* Mining stocks dominate list of top performers
* 2015 EU stock market performance reut.rs/1ZnkfVX
By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Atul Prakash
LONDON, Dec 23 (Reuters) - European shares surged on Wednesday, boosted by gains in commodities stocks on the back of stronger metals and crude oil prices and signs of more economic stimulus measures in China, the world’s largest metals consumer.
In the last full trading session before the Christmas holiday break, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 2.8 percent higher at 1,440.87 points. The euro zone’s Euro STOXX 50 advanced 2.3 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 index rose 2.6 percent and Germany’s DAX climbed 2.3 percent.
The European basic resources index surged 6.4 percent, the biggest one-day percentage rise since late August, while the oil and gas index gained 4.7 percent.
“Resource shares continue to lead the bounce back ... Brent crude above $35 per barrel and copper above $2 per lb should be enough to fend off commodity sector bears into the year end,” said Jasper Lawler, Analyst at CMC Markets.
London-listed mining stocks dominated the list of Europe’s top performing shares on stronger London copper prices, with Glencore and Anglo American rising 8.4 percent and 9.1 percent respectively.
Investors are looking for more signs that Chinese stimulus measures are supporting the world’s top metals user, with some early signs of more spending on the state power grid and on housing.
Traders also cited a report from state news agency Xinhua that China would prioritise cutting excess steel capacity. In reaction, shares in steel producer ArcelorMittal surged 11 percent.
“We think commodities are due for a bounce, and that should help mining stocks,” HED Capital managing director, Richard Edwards, said.
In spite of Wednesday’s 6.4 percent rally, the FTSE 350 Mining Index remains down by nearly 50 percent since the start of 2015.
Concerns that China’s economy may be slowing down contributed to downward pressure on European stock markets from this year’s peak levels, although economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank have prevented stock markets from losing too much ground. (Editing by Ruth Pitchford/Hugh Lawson)