European shares gain for sixth day in seven

European shares rose for the sixth day in seven on Tuesday, with Barclays (BARC.L) leading banks higher after it kicked off the UK sector’s reporting season with forecast-beating results.

Commodities shares gained on higher crude and metals prices, which were helped by U.S. manufacturing data.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares rose 1 percent to end provisionally at 1,001.3 points, its highest close since Feb 3.

The index is down 4.2 percent this year, partly due to worries on Greece’s deficit, but is up more than 55 percent from the lifetime low it hit on March 9, 2009.

“The cyclical tailwind is still intact, with good support from economic data, as well as from companies’ earnings,” said Tammo Greetfeld, equity strategist at UniCredit Group.

“But there is downside risk from how the Greek deficit problems evolve.”

Banks added the most points to the index. Barclays jumped 6.8 percent after it said it had started the year well after beating expectations, with 2009 profits of over 11.6 billion pounds ($18.18 billion). [ID:nLDE61E0QU]

Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), HSBC (HSBA.L), Lloyds (LLOY.L) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) rose between 1.6 and 5 percent.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) rose 5.5 percent after JPMorgan JP.N said it was buying the non-U.S. assets of commodities joint venture RBS Sempra from RBS and Sempra Energy (SRE.N) for about $1.7 billion cash.

A gauge of manufacturing in New York state rose in February as inventories jumped, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Tuesday. The New York Fed’s “Empire State” general business conditions index rose to 24.91 in February from 15.92 in January.

Energy stocks were in demand as crude CLc1 gained more than 4 percent to trade above $77. Total (TOTF.PA), BP (BP.L), BG (BG.L), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.AS) and StatoilHydro (STL.OL) rose between 1.2 and 3.7 percent.