European stocks advanced on Friday as stronger-than-expected U.S GDP data released overnight coupled with positive manufacturing data from China helped ease growth worries.
China’s factory activity contracted for a third straight month in February but at a slower pace as output and new orders expanded.
Closer home, Germany’s unemployment declined in February, surpassing economists’ consensus by a wide margin, figures from the Federal Labor Agency showed.
German retail sales grew at a stronger-than-expected pace in January, entirely reversing a steep decline in the previous month.
While British manufacturing growth slowed to its weakest level in four months in February, Euro zone manufacturing activity went into reverse for the first time in over five years last month.
Eurozone inflation accelerated in February, while unemployment rate held steady in January, separate reports showed.
The pan European Stoxx 600 was up 0.7 percent at 375.53 in opening deals after closing up 0.1 percent in the previous session.
The German DAX was up over 1 percent, France’s CAC 40 index was gaining 0.7 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was rising 0.6 percent.
WPP shares jumped 8 percent in London. The advertising group posted a smaller-than-expected fall in 2018 revenues and vowed to deepen the group’s restructuring plans.
Automakers were faring better as the dollar firmed up after the release of better-than-expected U.S. GDP data for the fourth quarter. BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Renault and Peugeot were up 1-2 percent.
Rheinmetall soared 7 percent after its operating earnings or EBIT before special items for fiscal 2018 rose 23 percent from last year.
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