European stocks rose on Friday, after the release of upbeat French industrial production data and as remarks by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi continued to support.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 gained 0.62%, France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.67%, while Germany’s DAX 30 advanced 0.61%.
Official data earlier showed that industrial production in France climbed 1.3% in November, exceeding expectations for a 0.4% rise, after a downwardly revised 0.5% decline the previous month.
European equities also remained supported after ECB President Draghi on Thursday reinforced the bank’s forward guidance on rates and said the bank was still ready to ready to take "further decisive action" if needed.
Draghi reiterated that monetary policy will remain accommodative for as long as is needed in order to assist the economic recovery in the euro area. The ECB expects interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time, he said.
Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders Societe Generale and BNP Paribas jumped 0.88% and 1.17%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank gained 0.71%.
Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander climbed 0.55% and 0.60% respectively, while Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit rose 0.33% and 0.42%.
Elsewhere, Swatch Group surged 3.55% after reporting 2013 gross sales of CHF8.82 billion, compared with the average analyst estimate of CHF8.86 billion, and giving a positive outlook for 2014.
Adding to gains, Metro rallied 2.11% amid reports its biggest shareholder may push for replacing its chief executive officer and selling some units.
In London, FTSE 100 climbed 0.49%, as U.K. lenders tracked their European counterparts higher.
Shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland edged up 0.11% and Barclays gained 0.47%, while HSBC Holdings jumped 1.14%. Lloyds Banking underperformed however, sliding 0.57%.
Meanwhile, mining stocks were also mostly higher, as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton climbed 0.50% and 0.59%, while Randgold Resources and Polymetal rallied 0.90% and 1.23% respectively.
On the downside, Serco Group plummeted 1.49% after the U.K.’s National Audit Office said it is among the two companies that may have to repay GBP3 million to GBP4 million to the government after "struggling" with 2012 contracts to house asylum seekers.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.20% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.23% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.31% increase.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the closely watched government data on nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate.
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders