European shares finished sharply higher, but trading volume was thin with London closed for a public holiday.
Commodities shares were the best performers on hopes the economic slump may be bottoming out. Encouraging manufacturing news from China boosted metals prices and mining companies benefited along with industrial engineering shares. Oil stocks rose as crude prices added to their big gains from the previous session and hit a five week high. Fiat surged on its merger plans with GM’s European unit. Financial stocks were also strong ahead of the release on Thursday of the US government’s stress test results for the 19 largest banks in the states. That information could give further clues about the extent of the recession’s impact on the financial sector.