Investing.com - Italian bank stocks were among the strongest performers in European midday trade on Thursday, boosted by signs of a breakthrough in the long running row between Rome and Brussels over Italy’s 2019 budget.
The Italian government offered to lower its deficit target next year to 2.04% of gross domestic product, below the 2.4% level that the European Commission had rejected as too high.
The Italian banking index was up 2% in Milan by 6:40AM ET (11:40 GMT), adding to the prior session's 3% rally.
Unicredit (MI:CRDI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) were the top gainers, up 2.6% and 2.1% respectively.
Smaller lenders UBI Banca (MI:UBI) and Medio Banca (MI:MDBI) were also higher, gaining nearly 1.5% apiece.
The strong gains in Italian banks lifted the broader European financial sector, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 Bank Index rising about 0.6%.
-- Reuters contributed to this report