- UK unemployment rate falls
- US industrial production rises
- Eurozone inflation drops
- Ukraine turmoil continues
FTSE 100: 0.65%
CAC 40: 1.39%
FTSE MIB: 3.44%
IBEX 35: 1.63%
Stoxx 600: 1.30%
European stocks rose as the UK unemployment rate fell and reports showed an increase in US housing and industrial activity.
The UK jobless rate dropped to 6.9% in the three months to February from 7.2% the previous quarter, ahead of analysts' predictions for a slight dip to 7.1%.
Jobless claims declined 30,400 in March following a 37,000 decrease in February, beating forecasts for a 30,000 slide.
British employers also added more jobs and weekly earnings rose in the quarter to February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed.
In the US, industrial production rose by 0.7% last month, following a 1.2% increase in February. Analysts had expected a 0.5% gain.
"With industrial production rising at a decent pace in March, the economy is now starting to show its true colours after the weakness triggered by the bleakest of winters," according to Capital Economics. "There is scope for production to rise rapidly in the coming months too."
Another report showed privately-owned housing starts in the US increased 2.8% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 946,000 last month.
While it came in higher than the upwardly revised 920,000 rate in February, it was well under the 970,000 consensus forecast.
Eurozone inflation declined to 0.5% in March from 0.7% in February, Eurostat confirmed today, adding pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to do more to tackle falling prices.
ECB President Mario Draghi over the weekend said a "further strengthening of the exchange rate
would require further stimulus".
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has claimed that 'Russian saboteurs' captured six of its armed vehicles in the eastern city of Kramatorsk.
A statement from the Ministry, reported in the Kyiv Post, said local residents blocked a column of armoured vehicles on Wednesday morning.
Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are said to have surrounded Ukraine's borders since Russia took control of the Ukrainian region of Crimea last month.
GEA edged higher as the German maker of food-processing equipment agreed to sell its heat-exchangers unit to private-equity firm Triton at an enterprise value of €1.3bn.
Tesco advanced as the UK supermarket chain reported annual trading profit that beat analysts' estimates.
Burberry Group was up after the UK luxury-goods maker revealed an increase in second-half sales that exceeded forecasts.
International Consolidated Airlines gained as HSBC Holdings upgraded the parent of British Airways to 'overweight' from 'neutral', saying it sees strong earnings momentum in 2014 and 2015.
Suez Environnement advanced as Exane BNP Paribas raised its recommendation for Europe's second-biggest water company to 'outperform' from 'neutral'.
BHP Billiton climbed as the mining company raised its full-year iron-ore production guidance after a jump in third-quarter output.
Syngenta rallied as the world's largest maker of crop chemicals posted a rise in quarterly sales that was in line with market consensus.
ASML slumped after the European semiconductor-equipment supplier estimated quarterly revenue that fell short of analysts' predictions.
Credit Suisse declined as the second-biggest Swiss bank said lower investment-bank profit led to a drop in first-quarter net income.
The euro fell 0.04% to $1.3809.
Brent crude futures rose $0.464 to $109.870 per barrel, according the ICE.