- US weekly jobless claims rise less than forecast
- Putin to deploy troops if diplomacy fails
- European carmakers rally on as sales rise
FTSE 100: 0.62%
CAC 40: 0.59%
FTSE MIB: 0.37%
IBEX 35: 0.24%
Stoxx 600: 0.49%
European stocks climbed after a better-than-expected report on US weekly jobless claims.
Initial weekly unemployment claims increased by 2,000 in the week ending on April 12th, to reach 304,000, according to the Labor Department.
The consensus estimate had been for an increase to 315,000. Claims in the previous week were revised up by 2,000 to 302,000.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to deploy troops in Ukraine if diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the crisis. He accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an "abyss".
His remarks came as foreign ministers from Russia, Ukraine, the US and the European Union were meeting in Geneva today discuss ways to douse the flames.
Europe car sales, French policy
European car sales rose by 10% to 1.49m vehicles in March, led by a 18% gain in the UK to reach 464,824 vehicles, according to the European Automobile Manufacturer's Association today.
Demand for vehicles has risen as consumer confidence improves in Europe and the sovereign-debt crisis regresses in Greece, Portugal and Spain.
Renault and Daimler gained as the report showed sales at the carmakers jumped 29% and 2.6% last month, respectively.
In France, Prime Minister Manuel Valls yesterday revealed plans to save €50bn between 2015 and 2017 by cutting back on spending, including on welfare benefits - a politically sensitive area.
"Although France's short-term outlook remains weak, the new French Government's recent policy announcements provide hope that France is slowly tackling its significant competitiveness problems," Capital Economics said.
A gauge of food and beverage stocks posted the worst performance on the Stoxx 600.
Remy Cointreau slipped after the maker of Remy Martin cognac said that adjusted operating profit probably declined by 35% to 40% in the financial year ended March.
Diageo retreated after the world's biggest distiller said sales, excluding acquisitions and currency swings, fell 1.3% in the third quarter of its financial year, missing analysts' estimates for an increase of 1.8 percent.
Pernod Ricard SA, Europe's second-largest distiller, also fell.
TUI advanced as Equinet Bank AG raised its recommendation on Europe's biggest tour operator to 'buy' from 'accumulate'.
SAP AG declined after Germany's biggest technology company reported quarterly sales and earnings that missed analysts' estimates.
The euro rose 0.10% to $1.3830.
Brent crude futures increased $0.346 to $109.990 per barrel, according to the ICE.