European Shares Close Higher On Central Bank Words

European shares closed higher on Friday after the European Central Bank (ECB) said it was ready to start its bond-buying program at a press conference on Thursday.


The FTSEurofirst 300 Index closed provisionally up 1 percent at 1,111.18 points.

The ECB announced on Thursday that it would keep rates steady at 0.75 percent and that it was ready to help lower borrowing costs for ailing euro zone economies.

Speaking to reporters after the announcement, ECB chief Mario Draghi tried to drum up confidence in the central bank’s rescue plan and said it had already eased tensions.

“We are ready and we have a fully effective back-stop mechanism in place,” he said.

European stock indexes were also boosted by better-than-expected jobs data out of the U.S. on Friday. According to the U.S. Labor Department, employers added 114,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate fell below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years.

Reuters reported on Friday that two of Greece’s largest banks, National and Eurobank , are in merger talks which if successful would create the country's biggest lender. Shares in both banks rose steeply on the news.