- US GDP rises
- US jobless claims fall
- Syria military action fears ease on delays
FTSE 100: 0.93%
CAC 40: 0.67%
FTSE MIB: 0.97%
IBEX 35: 0.40%
Stoxx 600: 0.77%
European stocks rose following upbeat US data and as the UK's plans for a military strike were delayed.
US gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a 2.5% annual rate in the April to June period, according to revised estimates from the Commerce Department, boosted by a surge in exports.
The government had initially reported that GDP had expanded at a 1.7% rate. Economists had forecast the revised estimate to come in at a 2.2%.
Separately the Labor Department said US jobless claims in the week ended August 24th fell 6,000 to 331,000 from a revised 337,000 a week earlier.
The positive reports come as the Federal Reserve mulls over when to begin scaling back its $85bn per month in bond purchases
The central bank has said it would start trimming stimulus once the economy picks up enough with economists predicting the Fed to make its move in September.
In Germany, a report showed unemployment unexpectedly rose in August by a seasonally adjusted 7,000 to 2.95m, the Nuremberg-based Federal Labor Agency revealed on Thursday.
Analysts had forecast a drop by 5,000 compared to last month's decline of 7,000.
Syria strike delayed
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has seemingly backed down on plans for military action in Syria after opposing lawmakers warned the leader of the "lessons of Iraq".
Opposition leaders reminded Cameron of when Britain helped the US to invade Iraq after asserting that President Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction which later turned out to be wrong.
The UK and other Western governments are now mulling over an intervention in Syrian after US leaders accused the country's regime of using chemical weapons against civilians last week.
United Nations (UN) inspectors are currently investigating the allegations against the Syrian regime which is expected to last until Friday.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the team, which arrived in Syria on August 18th, would report to him as soon as they leave the country on Saturday morning following their investigation.
Reports that military action will be delayed at least several days while the case is laid out to US and UK lawmakers helped to soothe markets.
Vodafone is top riser
Vodafone advanced after saying Verizon Communications is in talks to buy its stake in the Verizon Wireless venture.
Baloise Holding gained after the Swiss insurer reported an increase in first half net income and said it was on track to meet financial targets.
Carrefour SA surged after reporting a 4.9% increase in first-half profit.
WPP edged higher after the advertising company said first-half sales increased 7.1%, driven by strong performance in the UK and North America.
Serco Group slumped after confirming that the UK Ministry of Justice has called police over the misreporting of data by "a small number of employees" associated with Serco's Prisoner Escort and Custody Services contract.
Zurich Insurance Group plunged after announcing Chairman Josef Ackermann will resign with immediate effect.
Vienna Insurance Group declined after Austria's biggest insurer reported second-quarter pre-tax profit that fell short of analysts' estimates.
Brent crude snaps rally
Brent crude futures pulled back from two-year highs, falling $0.500 to $116.030, following reports of a delay in military action by the West in Syria.
The euro/dollar fell 0.88% to the 1.3222 dollar