European stocks closed mostly firmer Friday after strong gains across Asia while the euro hit a two-month dollar high after powerhouse Germany reported a dramatic improvement in its public finances.
Dealers said the markets were more confident that the European Union has done enough to ringfence debt-stricken Greece amid increasing speculation that Athens will eventually default despite a massive second bailout agreed Tuesday.
In London, the benchmark FTSE 100 index slipped a marginal 0.05 percent to 5,935.13 points, while in Frankfurt the DAX 30 rose 0.81 percent to 6,864.43 points and in Paris the CAC 40 added 0.57 percent at 3,467.03 points.
Elsewhere in Europe, Milan rose 1.07 percent, Lisbon 1.12 percent, Brussels 0.40 percent and Madrid was unchanged.
The European single currency stood at $1.3465, hitting levels last seen in early December and compared with $1.3369 in New York late Thursday.
The dollar meanwhile rose to 80.55 yen from 79.98 yen while gold was unchanged at $1,777 an ounce.
US stocks were higher in the wake of solid gains in Asia but with little concrete news to spur buying.
In midday trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.19 percent, the broad-market S&P 500 gained 0.36 percent while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite put on 0.35 percent.
"Volumes were weak," said Renaud Murail of Barclays Bourse.
"There are potential buyers but few sellers because they see a positive dynamic continuing and preferred holding their positions" he added.
"It looks as if we can end the week on a positive note," said David Morrison, senior strategist at traders GFT Markets.
"Equities continue to get a lift from central bank liquidity operations, as do other so-called 'risk assets' such as precious metals and oil.
"Investors are also convinced that sufficient firewalls are in place to insulate other eurozone countries in the event of Greece defaulting -- something that is now viewed as highly probable," he added.
Greece was launching a bond swap on Friday under a deal with private investors to write off 107 billion euros from its debt mountain of 350 billion euros ($462 billion).
The bond swap, in effect a cancellation of nearly a third of debt owned by Greece, is a critical part of a debt rescue stitched together with immense difficulty by the eurozone and International Monetary Fund, to avert default.
It is a second overall rescue for Greece.
Trade also got a boost from fresh US data confirming a steady rise in new home sales, despite a slight slip in January from December.
"The sky looks a little more blue," Jennifer Lee of BMO Capital markets said.
Asian shares rose strongly on Friday, pushed higher as Chinese credit eased and gains on Wall Street, dealers said.
Chinese shares gained more than one percent, led by banking and property stocks with the Shanghai Composite Index up 1.25 percent.
China's central bank cut the reserve requirement ratio for commercial banks by 50 basis points from Friday to ease restrictions on lending and give the domestic economy a boost.