- Italy's No.2 bank UniCredit jumped 4.5% and French lender Societe Generale surged 6.1% after reporting higher-than-expected quarterly earnings.
European stocks inched higher on Thursday, hovering near record levels, as strong earnings reports from AB Inbev and several eurozone banks added to an upbeat mood sparked by solid economic data.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.2% by 0716 GMT, with food and beverage, utilities and telecoms leading the gains.
Anheuser-Busch InBev gained 3.4%, boosting the STOXX 600, after it reported first-quarter earnings ahead of expectations and said North America boss Michel Doukeris will replace Carlos Brito as chief executive officer.
Italy's No.2 bank UniCredit jumped 4.5% and French lender Societe Generale surged 6.1% after reporting higher-than-expected quarterly earnings.
The wider euro zone banking sector rose 1.0% to hit a fresh 14-month high.
Europe's largest car maker Volkswagen slipped 0.5% even as it raised its operating margin target for 2021.
It was a busy day for UK markets, with the blue-chip FTSE 100 rising 0.3% ahead of Bank of England's monetary policy decision and with local and regional elections underway.