- European stocks were higher on Monday, supported by sustained expectations for China to announce stimulus measures to bolster growth, as well as an upbeat retail sales report out of Germany.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 gained 0.37%, France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.32%, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.33%.

Market sentiment remained support after Chinese premier Li Keqiang said Friday the country has policies in place to support economic growth. The remarks eased concerns over recent signs of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

In the euro zone, official data showed that German retail sales rose 1.3% in February, confounding expectations for a 0.5% fall. Retail sales in January were revised down to a 1.7% rise from a previously estimated 2.5% increase.

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lender Societe Generale (SOGN.PAR) added 0.19%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.XETRA) and Commerzbank (CBKG.XETRA) climbed 0.54% and 1.07%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) gained 0.65% and 1.21% respectively, while Spanish bank Santander (SAN.MADRID) rose 0.26%.

Elsewhere, Novartis (NOVN.SIX) surged 3.17% after the company ended a drug trial early as the results showed patients treated with it lived longer without being hospitalized for heart failure than those who received standard treatment.

German telecommunication service provider Drillisch (DRIG.XETRA) saw shares rally 2.40% after Chief Executive Officer Paschalis Choulidis said the company may pay a special dividend or buy back shares if it doesn’t make acquisitions by 2015.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.65%, supported by gains in the mining sector.

Shares in Glencore Xstrata (GLEN.LSE) advanced 0.72% and Bhp Billiton (BLT.LSE) jumped 1.08%, while rivals Vedanta Resources (VED.LSE) and Rio Tinto (RIO.LSE) rallied 1.25% and 2.10% respectively.

Financial stocks were also mostly higher, as the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LSE) rose 0.28% and Barclays (BARC.LSE) climbed 0.75%, while Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LSE) gained 0.72%. HSBC Holdings (HSBA.LSE) underperformed however, down 0.16%.

On the downside, biotech group Shire (SHP.LSE) slipped 0.28% after a U.S. federal court of appeals on Friday reversed lower court finding that a competing product from Actavis infringed a Shire patent.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.42% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.43% increase, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.49% climb.

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