European stocks and the euro rallied Monday -- the start of the fourth quarter -- as traders tracked Spanish debt strains and the revival of a merger bid by commodities sector giants Xstrata (Dusseldorf: XTR.DU - news) and Glencore.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 (Euronext: VFTSE.NX - news) index of top companies jumped 1.0 percent to 5,804.62 points in late morning deals, as Frankfurt's DAX 30 (Xetra: ^GDAXI - news) climbed 1.38 percent to 7,315.86 points and the Paris CAC 40 won 1.60 percent to 3,408.40.
Madrid's IBEX 35 (Madrid: IBEX.MC - news) index advanced 1.28 percent to 7,806.90 points.
In foreign exchange trade, the euro climbed to $1.2898 from $1.2856 late in New York (Frankfurt: A0DKRK - news) on Friday. Gold prices dipped to $1,771.57 an ounce on the London Bullion Market from $1,776 an ounce on Friday.
"With Europe having charged out of the blocks this morning, Wall Street is set to follow the trend although much of this can surely be attributed to repairing some of the damage that was done as markets unwound in the quarter's end on Friday," said Fawad Razaqzada, a strategist at traders GFT Markets.
"Disappointing manufacturing data from China had been seen as likely to weigh on sentiment at the start of the week but -- at least for the time
being -- there's a degree of optimism in play."
Sentiment was lifted in part by the announcement on Monday that Swiss mining group Xstrata and commodities giant Glencore had agreed new terms on a tie-up to create a company worth about £53 billion (86 billion euros, $90 billion)
The revised terms mean that Xstrata shareholders will receive 3.05 Glencore shares, which the companies said represents a 17.6-percent premium on the price of the miner's stock before the merger bid was announced in February.
"Steps to create the world's biggest metals and commodities trader have almost been completed this morning, with it being released to the market that Xstrata recommends to its owners an all-share merger with Glencore," said Spreadex trader David White.
In response, Xstrata's shares surged 3.06 percent in to 986.8 pence and Glencore won 0.58 percent to 345 pence on the London market.
European stock markets had slumped on Friday as Spain prepared to publish an audit of its stricken banks and as a tough budget in France dampened the mood.
An audit by US financial consultancy Oliver Wyman released ahead of the weekend said Spanish banks needed 59.3 billion euros (76.4 billion) to fix their balance sheets, which have been severely weakened by a property market crash in 2008.
In response, the Spanish government said the banks may need to borrow only 40 billion euros from the eurozone, far below the maximum on offer of 100 billion euros.
Moody's credit ratings agency meanwhile on Monday said that while recapitalisation of Spanish banks would help shore up confidence, the amount in rescue funds sought by Madrid was insufficient to keep them stable in stress situations.
In Monday trading, shares in troubled Spanish bank BBVA (Madrid: BBVA.MC - news) were down 0.44 percent at 6.08 euros.
Despite the downbeat end to the third quarter, European stock markets enjoyed a strong July-September as easing concerns about the economy amid fresh stimulus action by central banks resulted in a gain of about 13 percent for the German DAX, while Spain's IBEX won around 9.0 percent in value.