European stock markets ended higher this evening as banks enjoyed their best day in four months. Car makers also gained after strong results, particularly from Volkswagen.

In Dublin, the ISEQ resumed its rally, jumping 250 points, or 5%, to 5,160. The rise was led by banks and airline shares, as oil prices fell again. Ryanair closed up 24 cent at €3.39 and Aer Lingus added seven to €1.57. Anglo Irish Bank surged 87 cent to €6.73, while Bank of Ireland gained 49 to €6.16.

In London, the FTSE rose 86 points (1.6%) to close at 5,450. HBOS rallied 16.8% to 292p on speculation that Spain's BBVA was looking at a takeover bid. Barclays gained nearly 12% to 328.5p. In Paris the CAC added 1.9% to finish at 4,409 while in Frankfurt the Dax rose 1.5% to 6,536.

Wall Street also swung higher, helped by another drop in oil prices, despite mixed company results from Pfizer and Boeing. The Dow Jones was up six points at 11,608 while the Nasdaq gained 14 to 2,317. Earlier, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index closed 128 points higher at 133,13, up almost 1%.