European shares hit their highest closing level in nearly nine months, climbing for the 12th time in 14 sessions.Better than feared company results from the likes of VW, BT and Alcatel-Lucent are fuelling the market’s sharp three-week rally. Telecom companies were big gainers. Drugmaker AstraZeneca rose after raising its full-year earnings forecast on upbeat second-quarter results. But engineering company Siemens and chemicals group BASF slumped after suffering steep declines in earnings. As equities rose oil prices recovered almost all of the previous session’s losses. The euro slipped against the dollar after the International Monetary Fund said the European Central Bank should keep euro zone interest rates low for some time.
Thursday 30th July