LONDON, March 10 Eurozone banking shares hit
their highest level since last January on Friday, extending
gains after the European Central Bank struck a more optimistic
tone on the economy.
An index of euro zone banks was up 1.9 percent, the
highest in more than a year while the broader pan-European banks
index was up more than a percent.
On Thursday banks rallied after expectations increased that
the ECB's next move could be a tightening in policy, with money
markets now fully pricing in a rate hike by March 2018.
Italian lenders led the rally on Friday, with Banco BPM
, Unicredit and BPER Banca all
rising between 3.5 to 4.7 percent.
Banco Santander and BNP Paribas shares
both rose more than 1.5 percent and were the biggest boosts on
the banking indices.
(Reporting by Kit Rees, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)