European stocks rose on Monday and the euro gained slightly in light trading as several major markets -- including London -- were closed for a holiday after New Year's Day.
In midday trade, the Paris Cac 40 index was up 0.77 percent to 3,184.19 points. In Frankfurt, the Dax index jumped 1.59 percent to 5,991.87 points after official data showed the number of people employed in Germany hit a new record in 2011.
It was the first time the number of people working in Germany has risen above the 41-million mark in a country with a population of nearly 82 million.
The employment gains were spread across the economy, with the service sector registering a 1.2-percent rise in people employed and the construction segment up 1.7 percent.
Brokerage firm Aurel BGC said that in the new year "investors will be divided between US economic data, that should confirm the worst-case-scenario is far from being the most likely in the United States, and news from the eurozone, that will let us judge more precisely the depth of the recession that began in the last quarter" of 2011.
The euro began the year by rising slightly against both the dollar and the yen.
In midday trade, the euro rose to $1.2955 from $1.2939 late on Friday and to 99.65 yen from 99.62 yen on Friday when the euro fell below the 100-yen mark for the first time in ten years.