European stocks rose solidly on Thursday with gains exaggerated by thin trading before the Christmas weekend holiday and after ECB action to fight the eurozone debt crisis with cash for banks.
The benchmark FTSE 100 index jumped 1.21 percent to 5,455.71 points nearing midday in London, as traders also reacted to better-than-expected Britsh growth data.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 won 1.35 percent to 5,868.72 points and in Paris the CAC 40 climbed 1.45 percent to 3,074.48 points.
Madrid gained 1.0 percent and Milan advanced by 1.42 percent.
The euro climbed to $1.3101 from $1.3046 late in New York on Wednesday.
"Markets are a little perkier following a flat to positive session for US markets," said Simon Denham, head of Capital Spreads trading group.
"Buyers seem to be relieved that the sell off in Europe (on Tuesday) did not follow through to US trading."
US stocks markets closed mixed on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq dragged lower on poor Oracle earnings and other indexes finding little direction in holiday-thinned trade.
"US investors seem to be gearing up for Christmas and the year end much more so than their European counterparts," said Denham.
"In reality the US economy is growing well and some of the recent economic data has been surprising to the upside.
"It's as if they are largely ignoring the problems going on in Europe, despite the threat of what it could cause them due to their banking sector's exposure to Europe's banks," the analyst added.
Asian markets closed down as traders questioned whether a European Central Bank move this week to pump cheap cash into banks would be enough to unclog credit markets and ease the eurozone's debt crisis.
Following the announcement by the ECB that it would provide three-year loans at rates as low as one percent, a total of 523 banks snapped up a record 489.2 billion euros ($641 billion).
However, some market watchers said the fact that so many institutions jumped in so quickly highlighted the precarious state that they were in.
Tokyo fell 0.77 percent on Thursday, Hong Kong lost 0.21 percent and Sydney shed 1.18 percent.
Until now, the ECB has lent for a maximum of one year and the new arrangement, offering long-term money at interest rates below inflation, is part of a series of unprecedented measures to keep credit flowing in Europe at a time when banks are increasingly wary of lending to each other due to the debt crisis.
With pressure on the bank not to become lender of last resort for indebted economies, the latest plan was for banks to use the cheap money to ease their own cash flows and also buy up government debt.
"The euphoria surrounding the ECB's three-year tender quickly dried up, perhaps on the idea that the huge pick-up in liquidity will push the ECB further away from doing what the market ultimately wants them to do: print euros," Chris Weston, Institutional Dealer at IG Markets said in a note.