- US non-farm payrolls rise
- US unemployment rate unchanged
- German factory orders increase
- Eurozone retail sector contracts
FTSE 100: 0.70%
CAC 40: 0.79%
FTSE MIB: 0.83%
IBEX 35: 0.88%
Stoxx 600: 0.57%
European stocks gained after a report showed the US economy created more jobs last month.
The Labor Department's non-farm payrolls showed US employers added 192,000 in March, compared to an upwardly revised 197,000 in February, missing the consensus of 200,000.
The unemployment rate held at 6.7% last month, surprising analysts who had predicted a fall to 6.6%.
"The solid 192,000 increase in non-farm payrolls in March, along with the bounce back in average weekly hours worked to a four-month high of 34.5, from 34.3, confirms that the recent spate of weakness was nearly all due to the severe winter weather," according to Capital Economics.
"Overall, now that the weather-related weakness is behind us, we anticipate that the monthly gains in payroll employment will remain close to the 200,000 mark, driving the unemployment rate gradually lower and allowing the Fed to continue winding down its monthly asset purchases."
It comes after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Monday said the US labour market remained weak and extraordinary policy was "still needed and will be for some time to come".
Eurozone retail, German factory orders
Markit's retail purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the Eurozone showed that the retail sector contracted for the second straight month in March with a reading of 49.2, higher than the prior month's 48.5 but below the 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction.
German factory orders rose by 6.1% year-on-year in February, easing back from January's 7.08% increase and falling short of analysts' estimates for a 6.8% advance.
Markit's PMI for German construction fell to 52.4 in March from 53.6 a month earlier.
The disappointing data follows the European Central Bank's decision to keep policy unchanged despite calls for greater measures to support the recovery of the euro-area.
Meanwhile, Spanish five-year bond yields fell below equivalent Treasury rates for the first time since 2007.
Holcim and Lafarge rally on merger reports
Holcim and Lafarge were higher after sources told Bloomberg the cement makers have held talks to explore a merger.
Remy Cointreau jumped following a report that Brown-Forman Corp. has considered a purchase of the cognac maker.
Renault surged after Les Echos reported that the French carmaker's labour costs have fallen more than 4% since reaching an agreement on increased working time with staff last year.
easyJet climbed after the European airline said the number of passengers in March rose 4.8% to 5,107,676.
TNT Express NV retreated as the Dutch package-delivery company said its Chief Financial Officer Bernard Bot has resigned.
The euro fell 0.20% to $1.3693.
Brent crude futures rose $0.581 to $106.770 per barrel, according to the ICE.