European stocks advanced cautiously on Friday, boosted by news of recovering economic growth across the eurozone, while dealers tracked fresh political turmoil in Italy.
At close, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day just 0.06 percent higher at 6,663.62 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.68 percent to 9,662.40 points, while the CAC 40 in Paris climbed 0.63 percent to 4,340.14 points, its highest point since September 2008.
Milan's FSTE Mib index rallied 1.62 percent to 20,437 points, as the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta sparks reform hopes in the debt-laden eurozone nation, analysts said.
However, the British pound rallied to $1.6743 -- the highest since late April 2011 -- after the Bank of England earlier this week hiked its economic growth forecasts. It later stood at $1.6734.
The European single currency rose to $1.3689 from $1.3678 late in New York on Thursday, as dealers focused on bright data.
"Activity continues to recover in the eurozone," said Brenda Kelly, chief market strategist at trading firm IG.
"While the political shenanigans in Italy are providing a Groundhog Day backdrop to proceedings, investors are choosing to focus on the better-than-expected GDP numbers."
The eurozone economy grew 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, enough of an improvement on 0.1 percent in the previous quarter to suggest that modest recovery remains on track, official data showed.
Market expectations had been for growth of between 0.2-0.3 percent in gross domestic product (GDP).
In the wider European Union, the economy expanded 0.4 percent, after 0.3 percent in the third quarter, the Eurostat statistics agency added.
- Gold rises -
Germany showed a gain of 0.4 percent in the October-December period, better than analyst forecasts of 0.3 percent.
The French economy grew 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter but this was short of official forecasts of 0.4 percent.
In company news, a big gainer in Frankfurt was ThyssenKrupp after the German heavy industry giant stuck to its full-year targets despite a first-quarter loss.
In reaction, ThyssenKrupp shares rebounded 3.83 percent to 20.45 euros.
In Paris, EDF gained 2.41 percent to 27.85 euros as investors continued to digest Thursday's upbeat annual results
In London, global miner Anglo American saw its share price fall 0.91 percent to 1,519.50 pence.
Anglo revealed on Friday that net losses narrowed to $961 million (702 million euros) last year, compared with a loss after taxation of $1.470 billion in 2012.
However, the group's performance was weighed down by a vast $1.9-billion impairment charge on the value of assets, soft demand, and strikes in South Africa.
In commodity markets, gold forged a three-month high at $1,321.52 per ounce, boosted by the weak dollar, strong Chinese demand and speculative buying, analysts said.
In the US meanwhile, data showed that industrial output fell 0.3 percent in January in a surprise downturn, partly due to severe weather in parts of the country last month.
US stocks mostly brushed aside the news with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.46 percent at 16,100.89 points.
The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.23 percent to 1,834.01, but the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 0.13 percent at 4,235.35.