London: European shares climbed to a new six-month high on Wednesday, with expectations that a Greek debt swap deal will be agreed this week boosting banking stocks and better-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data supporting miners.   

A survey showing Germany's manufacturing sector grew in January also helped sentiment, with focus shifting to US ADP employment and ISM reports. Investors were positioned for in-line or slightly better-than-expected numbers, with any poor numbers having potential to erase recent gains in equities.   

Banks, many of which have significant exposure to peripheral euro zone countries and have taken a hit on their balance sheets following the long-running euro zone debt crisis, topped the gainers list on optimism that Greece's talks with private creditors on the bond swap deal could be concluded this week.   

At 1243 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 1.5 percent at 1,053.05 points after climbing to its highest since early August. The STOXX Europe 600 Banking index rose 3 percent, while the European basic resources index was up 2 percent, helped by the Chinese data.   

"The Chinese figures appear to have been well received and US employment data remains critical. While recent reports have raised optimism, the January figures are normally a difficult read, given the temporary impact which the festive holidays can have," said Keith Bowman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdowne.   

"In all, investors continue to hope for the best, although data from yesterday will have raised investor awareness of opportunities to take profits."   

The Institute for Supply Management's January manufacturing index, due at 1500 GMT, is expected to have risen to 54.5, versus a revised 53.1 in December. The US ADP employment report, due at 1315 GMT, is likely to show 185,000 jobs were created in January versus 325,000 jobs in the previous month.   

The Euro STOXX 50, the euro zone's blue chip index, rose 1.7 percent to 2,456.95 points.    

"The index is supported by its 21-day moving average and is not particularly overstretched either. The pressure is on the upside and a close above 2,467 would be a near-term positive signal," said Phil Roberts, chief European technical strategist at Barclays Capital.   

Charts, however, showed that the index may struggle to break the 2,600 area - a 61.8 percent retracement of a major sell-off from May to September last year.   
        
(Agencies)