LONDON Jan 3 Strength in financials and
commodity-related stocks continued to underpin European equity
markets with Britain's FTSE 100 starting the new year at
a record high on Tuesday.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7 percent
in early deals, climbing to its highest level since December
Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.4 to hit a fresh record
high of 7,174.00 points. The UK blue-chip index had been closed
in the previous session for a holiday.
Among individual stock movers, Italian banks were once again
among top risers, with newly-merged Banco BPM gaining
4.6 percent on its second day of trading, building on a strong
rise in the previous session.
Fellow banking stocks Credit Suisse and Bank of
Ireland were also among top STOXX gainers, with the
European banking index rising 1 percent.
Shares in British retailer Next were under pressure,
however, after Deutsche Bank downgraded its rating on the stock
to "hold" from "buy".
(Reporting by Kit Rees, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)