European shares finished higher having resumed their two-week rally, helped by news from across the Atlantic.Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the longest and deepest recession since the 1930s is likely over and new figures showed US retail sales increased in August at their fastest pace in three and a half years. That was partly due to a rebound in car sales from Washington’s scrappage scheme but non-auto sales were also stronger. Improved consumer spending is seen as crucial for any economic recovery to continue. In Europe banks were among the biggest gainers including HSBC, Societe Generale and Banco Santander. Resource-related stocks also climbed, among them Rio Tinto Group, Xstrata, ArcelorMittal and Repsol.