- Euro-area confidence data beats forecasts
- Germany's economic growth expands in Q2
- New US house sales slide
- UK GPD revised upwards
- UK mortgage approvals increase
FTSE 100: 0.70%
CAC 40: 0.25%
FTSE MIB: 0.19%
IBEX 35: 0.66%
Stoxx 600: 0.38%
European stocks ended the week on a high note after euro-area confidence rose more than expected in August.
The European Commission said the index of household confidence for the 17-nation currency bloc improved for a ninth month to minus 15.6, the highest level since July 2011, from minus 17.4 in July.
Economists had predicted an increase to minus 16.5.
The latest European data points to further recovery in the economy after a record-long recession.
Gross domestic product (GDP) in the euro-area jumped 0.3% in the three months through June after six quarterly contractions.
In Germany, a report showed second quarter economic growth climbed 0.7% in line with estimates.
The Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said a pick-up in consumption and a rebound in investment helped stimulate recovery in Europe's biggest economy.
The reports helped back an argument by European Central Bank (ECB) governing council member Ewald Nowotny who said the recent positive news on the Eurozone economy has taken away the need for the monetary authority to implement further rate cuts.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV at Jackson Hole, he said a stream of good news meant he did "not see many arguments now for a rate cut".
However, Nowotny stopped short of suggesting that the ECB will immediately embark on policy tightening. "The most recent developments will have no immediate effects on the policy of the European Central Bank," he clarified.
New US homes sales fall unexpectedly
Sales of new US homes declined more than expected by 13.4% to a 394,000 annualised pace in July, the weakest since October, the Commerce Department revealed.
It followed a 455,000 rate in the previous month and missed estimates for a decrease to 487,000.
The report suggested the housing sector may be taking a break as mortgage rates rise.
In the UK, GDP for the second quarter was revised upwards to 0.7% by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
GDP was up 0.1% from the initial estimate released in July. Compared to a year ago, it was 1.4% higher. The ONS said the revision reflected growth across agriculture, construction, production and services.
In other good news for Britain's economy, mortgage approvals for house purchases grew 31% to 37,200 in July compared to a year earlier.
The British Bankers' Association (BBA) said the government schemes such as Funding for Lending and Help to Buy combined with record low interest rates boosted demand in the sector.
Croda International, Commerzbank
Specialty chemical maker Croda International surged after Deutsche Bank upgraded the stock to 'buy' from 'hold' on expectations that top-line growth will pick up.
advanced following news the German government could sell its 17% stake in the country's second biggest bank to another European lender to make sure the bank is purchased by a preferred bidder.
Afren plunged after the oil explorer said first-half net income dropped to $79.6m from $100.7m.
ING gained after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the shares to 'overweight' from 'equal weight'.
Other asset classes increase
The euro/dollar rose 0.26% to the 1.3391 dollar
Brent crude futures climbed $0.991 to 111.000 per barrel on the ICE.