Europe Economy

Europe Shares Shrug Off Cyprus Fears to Close Higher

European Shares Close Higher

European shares closed higher on Thursday, having received a boost when Cypriot banks re-opened after an almost two-week closure, to relative calm.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index closed provisionally up 0.3 percent at 1,188.14 points and the broader STOXX Europe 600 closed up 0.4 percent at 293.71. Both indexes clocked their tenth successive month of gains in March.

Strict capital control measures were imposed on Cyprus' banks, and could remain in place for weeks. Cypriots will not be allowed to withdraw more than 300 euros a day, cash checks, or take more than 3,000 euros when traveling abroad.

(Read More: Cyprus Banks Reopen, Under Tight Controls)

Meanwhile, market rumors continued to circulate on Thursday that Fitch Ratings will follow fellow ratings agency Moody's lead and downgrade Italy. However, Italian Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli said he was unaware of any upcoming downgrade. Milan's FTSE MIB closed unofficially 0.1 percent lower.

However, European indexes were boosted by Dutch tea and coffee company D.E. Master Blenders, which closed 25 percent higher after it said it had received a 6.4 billion euro ($8.2 billion) bid proposal from its leading shareholder JAB.