A person walks in the foyer of the London Stock Exchange
London - AFP
European stock markets bounced back Friday on strong US jobs data, which pushed the euro to two-year lows against the dollar as investors looked to interest rate hikes.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed 1.26 percent to end the day at 6,527.91 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 rose 0.92 percent to 4,281.74 points.
Frankfurt was closed for a public holiday, while Madrid gained 1.44 percent and Milan climbed 1.54 percent in value compared with Thursday's closing levels.
Friday's focus was on the US job numbers, as indications that the recovery is solid would support the Federal Reserve raising interest rates.
The Fed is very close to ending its quantitative easing (QE) stimulus programme and is expected to begin raising its ultra-low interest rates from next year, although officials have refused to commit to a date.
"With QE finishing up this month, in the US it is all about interest rate expectations when we look at" the jobs data, said Will Hedden at IG trading group, speaking before the numbers were released.
"With the dollar retreating from its highs, a strong number north of 200,000 is expected to help push it back."News that a strong 248,000 net new positions were created in September, beating analyst expectations of 210,000 jobs after a disappointing 142,000 in August, sent the euro skidding.
At 1445 GMT the single European currency touched $1.2501, its lowest level since the end of August 2012.
It later recovered to stand at $1.2514, down from $1.2667 late on Thursday.
The euro also fell to 78.40 British pence from 78.46 pence, while the pound dropped to $1.5959 from $1.6144.
The price of gold dipped to $1,195 an ounce, the first time it has dropped below the $1,200 level this year, from $1,211.75 Thursday on the London Bullion Market.
US stocks also rose strongly on the jobs data, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing 0.79 percent to stand at 16,934.49 points in midday trading.
The broad-based S&P 500 also added 0.89 percent to 1,963.56, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.97 percent to 4,473.34.
- Difficult to gauge -
However, analyst Joshua Mahony at online forex broker Alpari said that below the headline jobs number, the data was far from strong.
He noted that the labour market participation rate fell to the lowest since February 1978 and there was no earnings growth.
Fed chairwoman "Janet Yellen has resisted calls to establish a specific date for interest rates to rise and today gave her the opportunity to continue doing so," said Mahony.
Yellen has often referred to 'slack' in the jobs market, where much of the work remains part-time and at low wages, and Mahony said this "is well and truly still a problem"."This provides somewhat of a beneficial environment for Yellen to operate within and a difficult one for investors to gauge," he added.
Asian markets mostly rose Friday.
Hong Kong, which had been closed for two consecutive public holidays, rose 0.64 percent as the financial hub's leaders prepare to meet pro-democracy protestors who have closed parts of the city for the past week.
Tokyo ended a see-saw day 0.30 percent higher and Sydney rose 0.39 percent.
Shanghai, Mumbai and Seoul were closed for holidays.
Europe's stock markets had plunged on Thursday after investors appeared disappointed at the limited extent of the European Central Bank's plans to launch its contested purchases programmes.
In London on Friday, shares in EasyJet soared 6.4 percent to 1,459 pence after the no-frills airline lifted its full-year profits forecast.
EasyJet said that a record-long strike by pilots at Air France had caused passengers to switch to the British carrier.