- US jobs report in focus
- German court refers ECB's OMT to European court
- German factory orders fall
- UK industrial and manufacturing output rises
- NIESR lifts UK growth forecast
FTSE 100: 0.09%
CAC 40: 0.16%
FTSE MIB: 0.17%
IBEX 35: 0.28%
Stoxx 600: 0.31%
European stocks rallied as investors awaited an all-important US jobs report that may show employers added more jobs last month.
Analysts expect the Labor Department's non-farm payrolls report to reveal an increase of 180,000 employees in January after a 74,000 rise in December. The US unemployment rate is expected to hold at 6.7% in January.
The data comes a day after a report on initial US unemployment claims for the week ending February 1st which dropped more than forecast by 20,000 to 331,000.
On Wednesday, the ADP revealed private-sector companies increased payrolls by 175,000 in January, compared to 227,000 a month earlier and the forecast of 185,000.
The US labour market is being closely watched to gauge the health of the world's biggest economy, particularly after the Federal Reserve announced a second round of monetary stimulus tapering last month.
German court refers ECB OMT to European court
Germany's Constitutional Court has referred an objection against the ECB's "unlimited" quantitative easing programme to the European Court.
The ECB's Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme was announced by ECB President Mario Draghi in September 2012 and is widely credited with stabilising the euro.
Germany's top court questioned the OMT and asked the European Union's highest tribunal to rule on the legality of the programme.
In other German news, industrial output fell 0.6% in December from November when it rose a revised 2.4%. Economists predicted a gain of 0.3%.
British industrial and manufacturing data, NIESR UK growth forecast
UK industrial production increased by 0.4% month-on-month in December, compared to November when it fell 0.1% and the forecast for a rise of 0.6%.
UK manufacturing output climbed 0.3% in December from a drop of 0.1% a month earlier, missing analysts' estimates for an increase of 0.6%.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) on Friday raised its UK economic growth forecast to 2.5% from a previous 2%.
The economic research body said growth will be driven by consumer spending and demand in the housing market but warned that weak productivity poses a risk for the country's medium-term outlook.
ArcelorMittal advanced after the world's biggest steelmaker posted fourth-quarter profit that exceeded analysts' expectations.
Aperam, the stainless-steel producer spun off by ArcelorMittal in 2011, surged after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat predictions.
EMS-Chemie gained as the chemical producer posted earnings for 2013, ahead of analysts' estimates.
Statoil declined as the Norwegian oil company reported a drop in quarterly profit that fell short of market forecasts.
Shire slumped after saying it will no longer pursue the development of Vyvanse, its medicine for the treatment of major depressive disorder.
SBM Offshore was lower after the company said a former employee tried to extort money by threatening to disclose information related to an ongoing investigation into possible improper sales practices.
The euro fell 0.15% to $1.3570.
Brent crude futures rose $0.047 to $107.240 per barrel, according to ICE data.