European stock markets climbed on Wednesday thanks to upbeat eurozone data and company earnings, though gains were capped by more disappointing Chinese economic data, analysts said.
London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares rose 0.56 percent to stand at 6,634.60 points approaching midday in the British capital.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 gained 0.59 percent to 8,363.60 points and in the Paris the CAC 40 won 0.75 percent to 3,952.48 compared with Tuesday's closing values.
In foreign exchange, the European single currency rose to $1.3240 from $1.3224 late in New York on Tuesday. The dollar increased to 100.06 yen from 99.43 yen.
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold climbed to $1,340.89 an ounce from $1,333.50 on Tuesday.
"The biggest news today is that Europe is finally showing signs of growth," said Kathleen Brooks, research director at Forex.com trading group.
"Perhaps the most interesting development in the eurozone is the pick-up in France. While it's good news that there are signs of stabilisation in Spain and even Italy of late, France has been the weakest link for some time."
Private business across the eurozone returned to growth in July for the first time in 18 months, a key survey indicated on Wednesday, possibly signalling an end to recession, analysts said.
The Markit Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers Index logged 50.4 points, above the 50-mark signalling growth, and a bigger-than-expected rise according to analysts after posting 48.7 points in June.
In company activity, shares in EasyJet soared 7.61 percent to 437.72 pence after the British no-frills airline said revenues jumped in the group's third quarter on rising passenger numbers and fares.
Revenue climbed 10.5 percent to £1.142 billion ($1.753 billion, 1.329 billion euros) in the three months to the end of June compared with a year earlier, the airline said in a statement.
Passenger numbers grew 2.6 percent to 16.4 million and seat capacity by 3.6 percent.
EasyJet added that it expected profit before tax for the 12 months to the end of September of between £450 million and £480 million, up from £317 million in 2011/12.
Asian stock markets closed mixed on Wednesday as data showing that Chinese manufacturing activity shrank further in July added to mounting concerns about the world's second biggest economy.
Tokyo slipped 0.32 percent, Shanghai was down 0.52 percent and Hong Kong added 0.24 percent.
HSBC's preliminary Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of Chinese manufacturing activity fell to 47.7 in July -- an 11-month low -- from a final reading of 48.2 in June.
A figure above 50 points to growth while anything below shows a contraction.
"Weaker Chinese numbers ... were quickly pushed out of the way by eurozone PMIs that give the smallest hint that, just maybe, things aren't quite as bad," said IG sales trader Yusuf Heusen.
"Particularly heartening was a welcome return to form by the German economy, which saw its august manufacturing sector move back into expansion territory."
On Wall Street, the Dow gained 0.14 percent on Tuesday, setting yet another record high points level, but the S&P 500 gave up 0.19 percent and the Nasdaq slid 0.59 percent.
US shares were hit by a mixed bag of corporate earnings, although a surprisingly downbeat US manufacturing report reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve would hold off winding down its stimulus anytime soon, traders said.