European stocks finished up almost 0.5 percent.
Investors were encouraged by figures from the US showing another rise in home sales in April as auctions of foreclosed properties and lower prices brought out the bargain hunters. Banks were big gainers as sentiment on the sector was bolstered by US data on Tuesday that showed the biggest jump in consumer confidence in six years. European media stocks rose after analysts at Goldman Sachs issued an upbeat note on the sector, raising price targets and upgrading a number of companies’ recommendations. Among the beneficiaries was the British commercial television broadcaster ITV – up 14 percent. Steelmakers climbed, propelled by positive comments on the sector by Salzgitter’s chief executive. Pharmaceutical and food and beverage companies fell, as investors shied away from those so called defensive stocks.