BP, banks buoy European stock markets

LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Gains in oil major BP and several major bank stocks after results lifted European shares on Tuesday, with a key European equity index reaching its highest level in more than a week.

However, traders said near-term direction would be influenced in part by what U.S. investors do when markets in New York reopen after a two-day closure due to a massive storm.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index provisionally closed up 0.8 percent at 1,102.26 points, its best close since ending at 1,107.42 points on Oct. 22. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index rose 1.4 percent to 2,512.38 points.

BP gained 4.4 percent after raising its dividend, while Swiss bank UBS surged 5.9 percent as investors welcomed UBS' plans to cut 10,000 jobs and wind down its fixed income business.

Dr Moustapha Awada, who heads up London quantitative trading firm Sunofia Advisers, said he remained cautious on European equities but was betting on further minor gains for regional stocks in the near term.

``Systematically we have a slightly 'long' bias, but that could change depending on the volatility and liquidity the markets will exhibit in the short term. I think Europe is still in a crisis situation but there's still some positive momentum in Europe,'' he said.