UK stocks : FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct
"There is a gradual trend upwards and I don't see that stopping at the moment."
Among single stocks, UK telecoms group BT was a top gainer, up 6.5 percent after posting a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit as cost-cutting paid off.
On the downside, the euro zone banking sector was one of the worst performers, down 0.6 percent after banks slowed down repayments of crisis loans to the European Central Bank.
Spain's Ibex also underperformed, shedding 1.6 percent after the country's market regulator lifted its ban on selling borrowed stocks and bonds. That suggested some investors were betting on declines in Spanish stocks after a 23 percent rally in the past month.
"There is a reasonable chance that tensions in the euro zone could grow again over the next couple of months and there could be a pull back (in equities)," said Ashburton's Pickford.
"We don't want to be too aggressively overweight at these levels given that Europe has done very well in the last six months. But, in the longer term, valuations are still incredibly attractive."
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