By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- European stock markets staged broad-based gains on Friday, as investors moved back into risk assets on the back of recent days' heavy selloff after German business-climate data surprised to the upside.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.7% to 286.94, climbing back after a 1.5% drop on Thursday.
Shares of Alcatel-Lucent added 3.3%, after the telecom-equipment maker appointed Michel Combes, former head of Vodafone Group PLC's (>> Vodafone Group plc) European operations, as new chief executive. Additionally, HSBC lifted the stock to neutral from underweight.
Shares of Elan Corporation PLC rose 3.1%. The biotech firm said it would buy back $1 billion of its own shares, using money from the sale of its multiple-sclerosis drug Tysabri.
For the broader European stock market, upbeat data out of Germany helped lift the trading mood. The Ifo Business Climate index jumped to 107.4 in February, exceeding expectations of a 104.7 reading.
Investors also trained their attention on generals elections in Italy over the weekend, with worries a new government will fail to follow up on the country's current reformist drive.
Italy's FTSE MIB index posted steep losses this week, on track for a 1.7% weekly loss, but was up 1.2% to 16,207.50 on Friday.
Among other country-specific indexes, France's CAC 40 index added 1% to 3,659.75, with banks on the rise. Shares of Société Générale SA rose 1.9% and Credit Agricole SA put on 1.7%.
In Germany, Deutsche Bank AG (>> Deutsche Bank AG) climbed 1.2%. The DAX 30 index traded 0.5% higher at 7,621.81.
And in the U.K., J Sainsbury PLC gained 2%, after Citigroup lifted the supermarket retailer to buy from neutral.
Miners were also higher in London, tracking gains for metals prices. Shares of Rio Tinto PLC (>> Rio Tinto plc) added 1.4% and BHP Billiton PLC (>> BHP Billiton Limited) nudged 1.2% higher.
The FTSE 100 put on 0.6% to 6,330.80.
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