Chinese Earnings Boost Banks

European Stocks rose to the highest in almost nine months as former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspam said the recession may be ending, Chinese manufacturing expanded and earnings from HSBC Holdings Plc and Barclays Plc boosted banks, Bloomberg reports.

Meanwhile, the solid results from the pair, which shunned a government bailout at the height of the crisis last year, inspired an across-the-board rise in banking stocks.

"It may be that we have passed, or are about to pass, the bottom of the cycle in the financial markets," said HSBC Chairman Stephen Green , BusinessWeek reports.

"The environment has remained very difficult in 2009 as a consequence of the onset during 2008 of economic recession in most parts of the world in which we operate. But we were nonetheless solidly profitable," Chief Executive John Varley said , Wall Street Journal reports.

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