Europe's main stock markets rose on Friday as investors hoped for signs of fresh stimulus measures from US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke later in the day.
In late morning deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index advanced 0.31 percent to 5,736.87 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 won 0.72 percent to 6,945.66 points and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.94 percent to 3,410.65.
Elsewhere, Madrid increased by 1.38 percent and Milan rallied 1.71 percent in value.
In foreign exchange deals, the European single currency rose to $1.2544, compared with $1.2504 late in New York on Thursday.
Attention is focused on Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Bernanke will address central bankers at about 1400 GMT, with investors hoping he will announce plans for a new round of stimulus to lift the world's biggest economy.
"Attention today will turn to Bernanke's speech from Jackson Hole, where it is anticipated he won't give away much," said Spreadex trader David White.
"Investors believe that he is likely to remain accommodative of a future downturn but unlikely to announce any new bond-buying today, particularly with the all-important jobs number next week."
A slew of data in recent days suggesting a slow and steady US recovery -- including rebounding consumer spending -- has been interpreted as a sign he will hold off on further stimulus.
"Risk assets were in cautious mood this week, ahead of Bernanke's key speech at the Jackson Hole symposium later today," said analyst Jonathan Jackson at brokerage Killik & Co.
"Investors are expecting to hear further details regarding US monetary policy and will be awaiting any hints of more central bank asset purchases.
"Nevertheless, the latest string of better-than-expected economic data in the US may prove enough for the Fed to delay announcing any further stimulus."
Asian equities mostly sank on Friday as a weak set of Japanese economic figures sent the Japanese stock market reeling.
Tokyo tumbled 1.60 percent, Seoul edged down 0.07 percent, Hong Kong shed 0.36 percent and Shanghai lost 0.25 percent.
There was fresh evidence that global headwinds were dragging on the Japanese recovery, with data showing factory output unexpectedly fell 1.2 percent in July, while the strong yen also hurt exporters.
Back in Europe, France and Spain called for decisive action to curb crippling borrowing rates that are threatening Madrid and pushing it towards seeking a full bailout.
French President Francois Hollande, who is in Spain to meet Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, prodded European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi to act, as the central bank works on plans to restart a bond-buying scheme aimed at helping under-pressure economies.
The ECB is expected to give more details on the mechanism for any intervention by September 6.