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Europe Markets: European stocks advance as banks move higher ahead of stress tests

European stocks pushed higher Friday, with banking shares faring well ahead of the release of stress-test results for the industry, leaving the market to march toward its best monthly performance in nine months.

The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.23% rose 0.4% to 340.94, led by strength in the financial sector as bank shares moved up. The Stoxx Europe 600 Banks index FX7, +2.61% rose 2.6%.

Lenders: Shares of Italian and Spanish banks were advancing. Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA BMPS, +5.52% shares jumped 5.9% after the embattled bank said it received proposals related to its business from Swiss bank UBS AG, as well as from a prominent former bank executive and government minister in Italy.

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