- Chinese manufacturing PMIs released
- Factory data out in UK, Eurozone and US
- Euro-area unemployment figures unveiled
- Yellen delivers dovish speech
FTSE 100: 0.22%
CAC 40: 0.33%
FTSE MIB: 1.19%
IBEX 35: 0.37%
Stoxx 600: 0.28%
European stocks gained after China's official manufacturing data showed expansion in the sector in March and after dovish remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
China's purchasing managers index (PMI) gauge for manufacturing activity rose to 53 last month 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.
"Taken at face value, today's PMIs appear to offer conflicting messages. In practice however, their 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," Capital Economics said.
Mining stocks, which rely on demand from Chinese manufacturers, rallied following the release of the reports.
Another batch of manufacturing data will be released in the UK, Eurozone and the US today.
Other economic data out includes February unemployment rates for the Eurozone, Germany and Italy which are forecast to hold steady.
Fed Chair Yellen pledged continued "extraordinary support" for the US economy during a speech at a conference in Chicago yesterday.
Yellen emphasised that there is still significant room for improvement and "considerable slack" in the labour market. She said that the Fed would continue to aid the recovery "for some time to come".
"This commitment is strong, and I believe the Fed's policies will continue to help sustain progress in the job market," she said.
Last month Yellen surprised markets by saying that the Fed will consider raising interest rates about six months after end of quantitative easing but she made no mention of matter yesterday.
Alstom climbed after the French maker of trains and power-generation equipment agreed to sell an auxiliary components unit to Triton for about €730m.
BHP Billiton jumped after saying that it is planning to simplify its operations to focus on iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum.
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 edged higher 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 $0.242 to $107.500 per barrel.