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Europe shares rise most in 17 months; banks lead

LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) - European shares rose at their fastest pace in more than 17 months on Monday, after European central banks started to buy euro zone government bonds under a $1 trillion global emergency rescue package. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares rose 7.1 percent to a provisional close of 1,036.10 points, the biggest one-day percentage gain since November 24, 2008. Stocks were bouncing back after falling 8.9 percent last week to a seven-month closing low, on worries that Greece's debt crisis would spread to other euro zone countries. Financial stocks were the most spectacular risers on Monday, with the STOXX Europe 600 banking index jumping 14 percent following a 14 percent drop last week. BNP Paribas, Banco Santander, BBVA , Societe Generale and UniCredit rose between 20 and 22.9 percent. "Given the amount of money that is being talked about, you can prop up markets for a certain period of time," said Andy Lynch, fund manager at Schroders. "The liquidity questions have been addressed and today is about short-covering. But the big picture is whether the individual countries are going to have the discipline to sustain the spending cuts needed not just over three months, but over five to six years." (Reporting by Brian Gorman) Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE STOCKS/CLOSE (brian.gorman@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 9128; Reuters Messaging: brian.gorman.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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