London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies won 1.32 percent to 6,141.50 points in midday deals
London - AFP
Europe's stock markets rebounded Thursday as investors welcomed improving Chinese data but remained cautious on the eve of a key US jobs report.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies won 1.32 percent to 6,141.50 points in midday deals.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 index gained 0.16 percent to 9,676.80, with troubled German carmaker rising 0.42 percent to 98.16 euros.
In Paris, the CAC 40 added 0.99 percent to 4,499.20 compared with Wednesday's close, boosted partly by news of soaring French car sales.
The region's equities had risen Wednesday as investors snapped up bargain shares and eyed hopes of more eurozone stimulus, after recent heavy falls were sparked by global growth worries.
In foreign exchange activity, the euro slid to $1.1157 from $1.1176 late on Wednesday in New York.
"The fourth quarter has gotten off to a solid start with UK and European markets both higher," said CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler.
"Overnight, Asian stocks rose, buoyed by a rally on Wall Street yesterday as prospects for Chinese manufacturing improved slightly."
A modest improvement in an official gauge of Chinese factory activity gave a boost to investor confidence, rallying Asian equities and emerging market currencies for a second straight day.
However, a dip in Japanese business confidence highlighted the struggle ahead for the country's leaders in kickstarting the economy in the face of a growth slowdown in China and an expected US interest rate rise.
China's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of manufacturing activity in September came in a little better than the previous month, though it was still near a three-year low.
Beijing's official Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 49.8 last month, slightly up from a reading of 49.7 in August and above the average of 49.7 predicted by a poll of analysts by Bloomberg News.
While it remains below 50 -- indicating the crucial sector was still in contraction -- traders were cheered by the fact it had stabilised.
A private reading on September factory activity last week came in at a six-and-a-half-year low, sending world stocks into paroxysms.
- Autos accelerate -
In Europe meanwhile, shares in French automakers revved higher Thursday as data showed that car sales jumped by 9.1 percent in September.
The nation's car industry trade body doubled its annual sales forecast, predicting that sales would increase by between 4.0 and 5.0 percent this year.
In reaction, shares in Renault accelerated 3.70 percent to 66.37 euros and Peugeot-Citroen climbed 1.0 percent to 13.59 euros.
On the downside, Air France-KLM stock descended 1.51 percent to 6.14 euro after the company failed to meet its self-imposed deadline to reach a cost-cutting deal with pilots.
Unions said talks were set to continue, but management, which had threatened to cut routes and jobs, declined to comment.
Asian markets also pushed higher on the Chinese PMI numbers.
Tokyo stocks closed 1.92 percent higher, Sydney gained 1.80 percent, Seoul was 0.84 percent higher and Singapore added 0.33 percent.
Hong Kong and Shanghai were both closed for a public holiday.
- US jobs data -
Thursday's gains come after global stock markets suffered their worst quarter since 2011, with trillions wiped of valuations since China devalued its yuan currency in August.
China is the top global trader in goods and its manufactured items sell worldwide, so weak production data is seen not only as a barometer of its own growth but also the state of the global economy.
Wall Street had finished a painful third quarter on a positive note on Wednesday, joining big European and Asian markets in rallying on speculation of more monetary stimulus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.47 percent to 16,284.70 points, while the broad-based S&P 500 rose 1.91 percent to 1,920.03.
The US will release key employment data on Friday, which will provide more clues about the US Federal Reserve's plans for hiking borrowing costs ahead of a meeting at the end of the month.