European shares rose Friday on easing eurozone debt concerns as investors awaited the latest bond auction in Italy and digested overnight gains on Wall Street and most of Asia.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading shares climbed 0.47 percent to 5,688.87 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.54 percent to 6,211.97 points and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.76 percent to 3,224.41 points.
Milan's FTSE Mib index added by 0.62 percent and Milan's Ibex 35 soared 1.17 percent.
Successful bond auctions in Italy and Spain gave European equities and the euro a boost on Thursday, although poor results and weak economic data in the United States later trimmed gains.
"With the focus on the Italian bond auction later today, European stocks move higher, supported by the latest outcome of shorter term bond auctions in Italy and Spain (on Thursday)," said trader Anita Paluch at Gekko Global Markets.
Rome's latest bond auction results are expected at around 1000 GMT.
"Yesterday's better-than-expected Italian and Spanish auctions have set the scene for a further strength in the single currency in the event this morning's three-year Italian auction goes well," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.
The European single currency meanwhile climbed to $1.2841 from $1.2816 in New York late Thursday. It hit a 16-month low at $1.2662 at the start of the week on fears over the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.
Investors remain on tenterhooks over the region's problems however as Greece struggles to reach an accord with private creditors needed to unlock fresh bailout funding.
Greece was under intense pressure to strike an agreement on a major writedown of privately-held Greek debt, with negotiators for banks warning that time was "running short" and officials saying a deal could be ready next week.
Asian equities were also broadly higher on Friday, boosted by the strong bond auctions in Italy and Spain as well as soothing words from the European Central Bank on the state of the region's finances.
Confidence was lifted after Spain successfully passed its first bond test of 2012, locking in sharply lower borrowing rates and raising far more money than first planned.
Investors flocked to the issue and Madrid took advantage to raise about 10 billion euros ($13 billion) -- twice the original target.
Italy raised 12 billion euros, with borrowing rates for short-term funds down sharply in a sign of improving market confidence.
The auctions provided much relief to investors who have seen the borrowing costs of Madrid and Rome rise to levels considered unsustainable for the long term.
The two countries are considered most at risk of needing a bailout after Greece, Ireland and Portugal, with many fearing that the eurozone could not cope if they were to fail.
Also on Thursday, ECB chief Mario Draghi said the bank's decision last month to make unlimited liquidity available to eurozone banks was helping to stabilise the region's crisis-ridden economy.
The ECB in January announced it would make available to eurozone banks as much as they wanted for a period of three years at super-cheap rates.
Hewson said "it would appear that last month's actions by the European Central Bank to try and break the logjam in the European banking system in the form of three-year loans appear to be meeting with some success in bringing these yields lower.
"Today's auction could go further in firming up this view but the acid test will be in auctions of longer dated paper at the end of this month."
In Asian trade, Hong Kong gained 0.57 percent, Tokyo jumped 1.36 percent, Seoul closed 0.60 percent higher and Sydney rose 0.36 percent.
However on the downside, Shanghai fell 1.34 percent, after soaring by a total of more than five percent on Monday and Tuesday, as investors awaited concrete steps by the government to ease monetary policy.
Analysts said the market was likely to be cautious ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays at the end of next week.
Wall Street brushed off news that weekly US jobless claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, rose to 399,000 after steadily falling for several weeks.
New York's Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.17 percent, the S&P 500 rose 0.23 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained 0.51 percent.