European shares extend rally on Chinese growth data


PARIS, Oct 18 (Reuters) - European stocks rose in earlytrade on Friday, gaining ground for the seventh straightsession, boosted by data showing an acceleration in China'seconomic growth.

The world's second biggest economy grew 7.8 percent in thethird quarter, its fastest pace this year, as rising foreign anddomestic demand lifted factory production and retail sales.

At 0705 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.4 percent at 1,272.98 points.

The FTSEurofirst 300 has gained 3.6 percent in the past sixsessions, as investors bet on a last-minute deal in Washingtonto avert a debt default, which was reached earlier in the week.

Sentiment in equities was also buoyed by Thursday's recordclose for the S&P 500, which followed the Washington agreement.

"Now that the crisis is over in the United States, investorsare back in the market, and the fear of missing the rally isbecoming stronger than the fear of a market correction, so thisrally has still legs," a Paris-based trader said.

"Heading into the earnings session, however, it's a marketfor stock pickers because we've already had quite a few warningsfrom blue chips."

Shares in property group Gecina featured among thetop losers, down 3.3 percent, after Spain's Grupo Prasa placed a1.3 percent stake in the company, according to traders.

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