European shares finished higher. It was their third consecutive session of gains.
Banks were the strongest performers after Abu Dhabi bailing out Dubai with aid for debt-laden Dubai World. Standard Chartered, HSBC, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Deutsche Bank and Credit Agricole were all up. But Lloyds Banking Group fell nearly two percent. It completed a record 13.5 billion pound rights issue which ended a turbulent period for the bank and shifted investor focus to a potential government stake sale in 2010. Investors were also encouraged by an upbeat Bank of Japan survey of corporate activity there. Mining company shares rose with Lonmin at the top of the heap. French insurer AXA was up. Australia’s AMP and AXA have raised their takeover offer for AXA Asia Pacific Holdings by 16 percent. Drugmakers declined. AstraZeneca fell after it failed to win a summary judgement against generic companies challenging the patent on its best-selling cholesterol drug Crestor.