- US non-farm payrolls rise more than forecast
- German trade surplus widens
- Bundesbank raises GDP forecast for Germany
- Nowotny says ECB policy decision unanimous
FTSE 100: 0.66%
CAC 40: 0.71%
FTSE MIB: 1.54%
IBEX 35: 1.73%
Stoxx 600: 0.67%
European stocks advanced after monthly US job data topped analysts' expectations.
American employers added 217,000 new jobs last month, compared to a revised 282,000 a month earlier, according to the Labor Department's non-farm payrolls report, surprising analysts who had forecast 215,000.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.3%, slightly lower than the 6.4% predicted by the market. It followed a 0.4 percentage-point decline in April.
The Federal Reserve is watching the labour market closely to determine whether to continue tapering bond purchases and when to raise interest rates.
"The [Federal Open Market Committee] has mentioned numerous times in its statement that it will consider a wide range of labour market statistics to ascertain its health," Barclays Research said.
"Therefore, while the report is likely to keep the tapering process on track, it is unlikely to alter the Fed's timeline for potential policy rate hikes significantly.
"We expect the Fed to taper its monthly purchase pace by another $10bn at its June meeting and conclude purchases in October. Our forecast also calls for the first rate increase in mid-2015."
Germany's trade balance in April rose to €17.4bn from €16.6bn a month earlier, surprising analysts who had expected it to narrow to €15.1bn.
Exports increased 3% in April following a 1.8% drop in March, beating the market consensus of a 1.3% rise. Imports climbed 0.1% in April after a 1.1% decline the prior month, against estimates for a 0.8% gain.
A separate report out of Germany showed industrial production was up 0.2% in April after a 0.6% drop a month before. Economists had expected a 0.4% increase.
Also in Europe's biggest economy, the Bundesbank said it expects gross domestic product (GDP) to expand 1.9% this year compared to its prior estimate of 1.7%. Its forecast for 2015 and 2016 settled at 2% and 1.8%, respectively.
The Bundesbank also cut its inflation forecast from 1.3% to 1.1% for this year.
It noted expectations for inflation to rise to 1.5% next year and 1.9% in 2016.
In the UK, the Office for National Statistics estimated the deficit on trade in goods and services to have been £2.5bn in April, against £1.1bn in March.
ECB policymakers all agreed on rate cuts, says Nowotny
After the European Central Bank (ECB) cut interest rates to record lows and announced a series of measures to fight deflation risks and support the Eurozone economy, ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said that, despite discrepancies, the monetary authority's entire team fully supported the decision.
The ECB cut the deposit rate by 10 basis points to -0.10% and slashed interest rates by 10 basis points to 0.15%.
Nowotny admitted that the discussion at the heart of the ECB on the decisions intended to improve credit flows and move money markets was long and "wasn't easy", but stated that the final conclusion was "unanimous" at the end of the meeting that concluded on Thursday.
Commerzbank, Monte Paschi
Commerzbank jumped after the lender's Chief Executive Officer Martin Blessing predicted that the ECB will find no problems during an audit.
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA slumped after the Italian bank said it will offer new shares
to investors in a rights offer.
Centrica advanced after The Times reported that Qatar or France's EdF may bid for the owner of British Gas.
Bank of Ireland was higher as the yields on benchmark debt in Ireland fell to 2.442%. Banco Espirito Santo rallied as the yield on 10-year Portuguese bonds also dropped.
The euro fell 0.16% to $1.3638.
Brent crude futures dipped $0.240 to $108.530 per barrel, according to the ICE.