European shares hit a new six-month high in early trade on Thursday, with mining stocks higher after Xstrata said it was in talks about a merger with commodities trader Glencore .

The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources Index <.SXPP> rose 3.4 percent, with Xstrata and Glencore up 11.5 and 3.3 percent respectively.

The possible deal, and some strong corporate results, further boosted sentiment for equities. Shares rose strongly in the previous session, on strong macroeconomic data from China, the United States and Germany, and signs a Greek debt swap deal was imminent.

At 8:07 a.m., the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,059.29 points.

As long as there's no bad news, no default in any European countries, markets should keep on trickling upwards, said Mark Priest, senior trader at ETX Capital.

(Reporting by Brian Gorman)