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Europe: Shares rise to 15-month high as reflation rally resumes

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[LONDON] European shares hit their highest level in 15 months on Thursday, with basic resource and banking stocks rising after the US Fed raised rates and Dutch centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte won elections in the Netherlands.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index hit its highest level since December 2015, last up 0.5 per cent. Amsterdam's AEX hit its highest level in more than nine years, up 0.7 per cent, while both Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 hit their highest levels since mid-2015.

Dutch centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte scored a resounding victory over anti-Islam and anti-EU Geert Wilders in an election on Wednesday.

Anglo American was the top European gainer after Indian billionaire and Vedanta Resources majority shareholder Anil Agarwal said he would buy a stake of up to £2 billion (S$ 3.446 billion) in the miner.

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Anglo led Europe's basic resource stocks higher, the top sectoral gainers, up 3.5 per cent.

Antofagasta, Fresnillo, BHP Billiton and Randgold Resources were in the top gainers, up 4.4 to 5.7 per cent.

Lufthansa was among top gainers, up 5.1 per cent after its results, despite the German airline saying profits were set to dip in 2017 on rising fuel costs.

Banking stocks gained after the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates. The Eurozone banking index was up 1.7 per cent.

Renault was the top faller, after the French carmaker's CEO Carlos Ghosn was targeted in a French diesel cheating probe.