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European Bank Shares Surge After German Court Clears Way for ESM

European bank shares rose to the highest level since March after Germany’s top constitutional court cleared the way for ratification of the euro-area bailout fund.

French lenders Natixis and Credit Agricole SA led the gains, both rising more than 5 percent. Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA climbed as much as 6.8 percent while Commerzbank AG added as much as 7.4 percent in Germany.

The Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index gained as much as 2 percent to 84.99, the highest intraday level since March 28 and was up 1.3 percent as of 10:13 a.m. in London. The 38-company index advanced for a sixth day after the European Central Bank agreed to an unlimited bond-purchase plan on Sept. 6, its longest winning streak since January.

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe today dismissed motions filed by groups including a conservative lawmaker and an opposition political party that sought to block the 500 billion-euro ($645 billion) fund, known as the European Stability Mechanism, and a deficit-control treaty championed by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The court stipulated that a cap of about 190 billion euros be set on German liabilities before ESM ratification, unless Parliament decides to back extra funds.

Natixis rallied 6.5 percent to 2.65 euros as of 11:14 a.m. in Paris, while Credit Agricole gained 5.4 percent to 5.87 euros. Monte Paschi advanced 5.1 percent to 29 cents in Milan. Commerzbank, Germany’s second-biggest bank, rose 3.5 percent to 1.52 euros in Frankfurt.

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