- Eurozone and German jobless data released
- Manufacturing PMIs out in China, UK, Eurozone and US
- Nato to hold talks on Ukraine
FTSE 100: 0.51%
CAC 40: 0.84%
FTSE MIB: 1.57%
IBEX 35: 0.94%
Stoxx 600: 0.48%
European stocks climbed after better-than expected unemployment data in the Eurozone and Germany.
The Eurozone's unemployment rate was 11.9% in February, unchanged from the prior month. Analysts had expected it to rise to 12%.
In Germany, unemployment rate remained stable at 6.7% in March, after February's reading was revised down from 6.8%. Consensus had been looking for a jobless rate of 6.8%.
The number of jobless in Europe's biggest economy dropped by 12,000 in March, compared to the consensus forecast for a decline of 10,000. February's decrease was revised to 15,000 from the prior reading of a 14,000 fall.
China's purchasing managers' index (PMI) gauge for manufacturing activity rose to 53 in March from 50.2 in February, in line with analysts' expectations. A level above 50 signals expansion.
However, HSBC's private report on Chinese manufacturing PMI fell to 48 from 48.1. Economists had predicted the reading to remain unchanged.
While the PMIs appear to offer conflicting message, Capital Economics said the "divergence provides useful clues into the state of the manufacturing sector, suggesting that large firms have held up better than many feared but that overall activity remains subdued".
In the Eurozone a revised manufacturing PMI report came in at 53 in March, matching the initial estimate and the consensus forecast.
In the UK, the PMI dropped to 55.3 last month from 56.2 in February, surprising analysts who had expected a reading of 56.7.
Later on in the session will be the release of ISM's US manufacturing PMI. Markets in the US rallied yesterday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen pledged continued "extraordinary support" for the economy during a speech in Chicago.
Nato foreign ministers are set to hold talks in Brussels on the turmoil surrounding Russia's takeover of Crimea from Ukraine.
Ministers from the 28 member states of the alliance will meet in Brussels for the first time since the annexation of Crimea to reassure allies in Eastern Europe.
The news comes a day after Russia ordered a partial withdrawal of troops near the eastern border of Ukraine.
BHP Billiton, Alstom
BHP Billiton jumped after saying that it is planning to simplify its operations to focus on iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum.
Alstom climbed after the French maker of trains and power-generation equipment agreed to sell an auxiliary components unit to Triton for about €730m.
Osram Licht declined after the lighting manufacturer said sales of traditional lamps are falling faster than anticipated.
ICAP advanced as the interbroker dealer forecast full-year profit in line with analysts' estimates, despite a decline in sales at the broking unit.
Metso jumped after The Times reported Weir Group may be willing to pay as much as €30 a share for the Finnish company.
The euro rose 0.19% to $1.3795.
Brent crude futures fell $0.130 to $107.620 per barrel, according to the ICE.