Following less-hawkish comments by the European Central Bank, investors are now less sure of future euro-zone interest rate rises. That helped bank stocks, which usually benefit from an environment of steady or falling rates. Shares in BNP Paribas, Royal Bank of Scotland and Societe Generale all gained more than four per cent.
Pharmaceutical stocks were also big gainers.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher in a shortened session after the release of data showing job losses in the US in June were largely in line with expectations. That helped allay concern about the outlook for growth in the world’s biggest economy.
But tech stocks were lower .. as major computer- graphics chip maker Nvidia said its revenues will suffer from slowing demand and increased competition.