LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stock indices rose for the second consecutive day on Thursday, with Greek shares among the strongest gainers amid faint suggestions of progress in the Greek debt crisis.
A meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the leaders of Germany and France ended without a deal, but with a pledge by Tsipras to work to bridge the differences between Greece and its international creditors. A communique issued after the meeting said the leaders are determined to "intensify" discussions. Tsipras is scheduled to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels later Thursday.
The Athens Composite index surged 6.56% to 810.96, with Alpha Bank (ALBKY) posting a double-digit gain. In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.35% at 6,854.00. In Frankfurt, the DAX rose 0.73% at 11,347.72. In Paris, the CAC 40 was up 0.72% at 4,970.59.
Royal Mail (ROYMF) fell over 4% on news the government has raised £750 million ($1.16 billion) by selling half its 30% stake at 500 pence per share in the first of further planned secondary offerings following the IPO of the business in October. The shares were recently trading at 495.10 pence.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) rose after Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, as widely expected, used a speech last night to announce plans to start selling the government's near-80% holding in the lender "in the coming months." The government acquired its stake through a £45 billion state rescue of the bank during the credit crisis and will lose between £7 billion or £14 billion, depending on whether you calculate fees received by the government from the bank, on the investment.
But adviser Rothschild told the government that initiating an RBS selloff "could change perceptions of RBS with consequent potential benefits for larger share sales in future."
Wireless services operator Vodafone (VOD), which is in talks about swapping assets with Liberty Global (LBTYA) and which announced plans on Wednesday to offer broadband, fell sharply as the stock went ex-dividend.
Also in London, luxury goods maker Mulberry (MLBGF) gained after a 74% collapse in pretax profit last year beat forecasts and after 15% sales growth in the first weeks of the current year.
Far larger peer LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMUY) gained ground in Paris on the back of a buy recommendation from JPMorgan Chase.
Interest rate cuts in New Zealand and South Korea weighted on those countries' respective currencies, while the Australian dollar rose on a better-than-expected jobs report.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed up 1.68% at 20,382.97 and the Topix rose to 1,648.88, up 1.27%.
In China, May industrial output rose 6.1% year-on-year, gaining steam from growth of 5.9% in April, according to government figures. The Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.3% at 5,121.59. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rose 0.68% to 26,911.60.
In Seoul, construction Samsung C&T closed down more than 7% in reaction to the company's late Tuesday announcement that it had sold a 5.8% stake to materials supplier KCC in a bid to get its takeover by Cheil Industries, another Samsung Group (SSNLF) company, past shareholders. Elliott Management has launched a court battle to halt the deal and called the stake sale to KCC "desperate and unlawful."