European shares finished trading up 1.7% on Wednesday. Financial stocks soared following reassuring comments on banking from the US
Federal Reserve and signs that UK mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley would be bailed out. Among the big gainers, Lloyds TSB, Barclays, Credit Agricole, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and UBS.
Mining companies rallied on the back of solid earnings from US aluminium group Alcoa.
Oil remains above $137 a barrel. Prices rebounded on news that Iran has test fired missiles that it said could reach Israel and US bases in the region. Also the latest figures from the US showed a larger-than-expected fall in inventories of crude there.