PARIS, Oct 18 (Reuters) - European stocks rose on Thursday in a late-session rally, climbing for the fourth straight session as investors bet Spain would soon request a bailout and tensions surrounding the euro zone crisis would continue to abate.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares unofficially closed 0.2 percent higher at 1,121.12 points, just a few points shy of a 14-month high hit in mid-September.
Debt-stricken Spain is seen requesting aid in the next few weeks, which would trigger European Central Bank bond buying, further easing pressure on the country's borrowing costs.
"There's a feeling that what we're seeing is the start of a solution for the euro zone," said Xavier Lespinas, head of equities at Swiss Life Private Bank.
"With a solution for Spain taking shape and with expected measures to support Chinese growth, stocks could gain another 10 percent before the end of the year."
Mining shares were among the top gainers, with Rio Tinto up 2.4 percent, helped by data showing China's economy is stabilising.
Food major Nestle dropped 1.7 percent after saying sales growth slowed more than expected in the first nine months of the year, while French drinks group Remy Cointreau sank 8 percent after reporting a sharp slowdown in sales growth in the last quarter.