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Investors began 2017 in a confident mood after solid manufacturing activity data in Europe and China. 

Banking stocks jumped almost 3 percent. Shares of the newly mergedBPM bankin Italy were at the top of the European index, up by more than 9.8 percent in afternoon trade.

French consumer prices increased 0.8 percent year-on-year, driven essentially by an increase in energy prices. French inflation reached its highest level since May 2014. Inflation across the eurozone is expected to edge up this year on the fading effect of last year’s energy price falls. Forecasts from the ECB show average inflation will fall short of the ECB’s target of just below 2 per cent in 2019 at 1.7 per cent.

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