(MENAFN - AFP) European stock markets churned higher on Friday in a cautiously optimistic end to the week, mirroring earlier gains in Asia before key US payrolls data.
Markets are ending an upbeat week across global trading floors on a high, with focus also turning to the start of China's annual policy gathering.
After a miserable start to the year for investors, March has so far been a ray of sunshine thanks to some positive US data and Beijing's decision to ease monetary policy, dealers said.
A pick-up in oil prices -- which in January were near 13-year lows below $30 a barrel -- has also provided some stability, with energy firms breathing a sigh of relief.
"US data continues to shine, oil continues to firm and risk appetite is coming back into all aspects of the markets," said analyst Angus Nicholson at traders IG.
However, after this week's gains, dealers are watching upcoming events nervously.
Later on Friday, Washington will report how many jobs were created in the US economy in February.
That comes after better-than-expected reports on private jobs, the manufacturing sector, construction spending and auto sales.
The figures come two weeks before the Federal Reserve holds its next policy meeting, which will be keenly watched to see if it hikes interest rates again or hints at its plans.
Saturday sees the start of China's National People's Congress, where delegates will sign off on a new five-year economic plan.
There are growing hopes that authorities will also unveil measures to shore up the world's number two economy, which is growing at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century.
Earlier this week the government cut the amount of cash banks must keep in reserve as it looks to get them lending again.
- 'Key issue' -
Tokyo's Nikkei ended 0.3 percent higher, while Hong Kong added 1.2 percent in the afternoon.
Shanghai closed 0.5 percent higher and Sydney 0.2 percent.
In late morning European trade, Frankfurt, London and Paris all gained about 0.6 percent in value.
The region's bourses had ticked lower Thursday as investors paused following this week's sharp global rally.
"With some relative calm returning to the markets, battle-weary investors are finally starting to emerge from the shadows," said Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at online stockbroker Interactive Investor.
"As the FTSE 100 returns back at levels not seen since the New Year and commodities stabilising, investors are taking their cue to take on some more risk."
Oil prices, for most of this year a millstone around the neck of traders, retained recent gains on hopes that key producers, including Russia and OPEC titan Saudi Arabia, would be able to agree to a deal to freeze or cut output.
- Key figures around 1145 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.8 percent at 6,178.40 points
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.9 percent at 9,838.20
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.8 percent at 4,449.30
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 3,032.70
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 17,014.78 (close)
Shanghai - composite: UP 0.5 percent at 2,874.15 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.2 percent at 20,176.70 (close)
New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 16,943.90 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0967 from $1.0957 on Thursday
Dollar/yen: UP at 113.71 yen from 113.69 yen