LONDON ( The Deal) -- Mainland European stock indices rallied on Thursday on hopes that a new accord will end the civil war in Ukraine.
Russian, Ukrainian, German and French leaders meeting in Belarus agreed on a cease-fire to begin Sunday, calming immediate fears that the civil war would escalate, with either the U.S. or NATO providing arms to the Ukrainian government.
Meanwhile, as expected, a meeting of eurozone finance ministers ended without an agreement on how to resolve the Greek debt crisis, though Greece's finance minister reported that progress had been made.
But London indices were tempered by a Bank of England prediction that U.K. inflation will accelerate toward the end of the year, raising the specter of rate rises which were previously assumed to be firmly off the table.
In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.38% at 6,843.90, in Frankfurt the DAX surged 1.66% to 10,930.89, and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 1.04% to 4,728.19. The Athens benchmark was up almost 4%, and in Moscow the Micex was up 2.56%.
Companies with significant business in Russia, including Adidas (ADDYY) and grocer Metro (MTTRY) , both of Germany, rose. Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank, which earlier this week announced a plan to slash Russian assets, was up more than 9%.
Rio Tinto (RIO) - Get Report was a lead gainer on the FTSE 100 as it announced a $2 billion share buyback alongside above-forecast results for 2014, including a 9% fall in underlying 2014 profit to $9.3 billion.
In Zurich, Credit Suisse (CS) - Get Report surged 7% after it swung to a fourth-quarter profit and announced bonus cuts and other capital raising measures to mitigate the impact of the Swiss central bank's abrupt removal of the cap on the Swiss franc, which sent the currency soaring.
In Paris, carmaker Renault (RNLSY) rose almost 9% after exceeding forecasts in 2014 and predicting operating margin and revenue growth in 2015 amid predicted 2% growth in global car demand.
But spirits maker Pernod Ricard (PDRDY) was down almost 3% after reporting stagnant first-half earnings that came in at the lower end of forecasts.
In Frankfurt, troubled construction and infrastructure company Bilfinger (BFLBY) was up more than 6% after widening a divestment program and announcing an above-forecast dividend, despite a gloomy prognosis for 2015.
In Asia, most indices made gains, though the Sydney benchmark declined 0.44% on news that the Australian jobless rate had climbed to 6.4%, the highest in well over a decade.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 surged 1.85% to 17,979.72 as the yen fell. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed up 0.44% at 24,422.15.