European stocks closed in positive territory on Friday, ending the week on a high amid increasing hopes of a European Central Bank (ECB) bond-buying program, and after U.S jobs figures came in marginally weaker than expected.
US jobs disappoint
The U.S. Labor Department report showed 192,000 new jobs were created last month, slightly less than the 200,000 forecast. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7 percent.
"I think this is enough of a goldilocks number for the market – it doesn't change Fed tapering, but still signals the economy is expanding gradually," Anthony Valeri, an investment strategist for LPL Financial, told CNBC.
The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index closed up around 0.5 percent after eight straight days of gains. Earlier Friday, the index hit its highest level since January 2008.
ECB holds fire
In Europe on Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) opted to keep monetary policy unchanged, despite some calls to act to quell disinflation, which could damage the region's economy.
ECB President Mario Draghi, however, stressed that the central bank remained committed to the use of unconventional policy measures if required - a sentiment reiterated by the ECB's vice president to CNBC on Friday.
Speaking at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy, Vitor Constancio said an ECB bond-buying, or quantitative-easing (QE), program had been discussed at the monetary policy meeting, although not in detail.
"We did not discuss details (of QE) because that was not the environment to do it," he told CNBC. "We have had some discussions (in the past) and we will have more, about the details... of course, the details are important."
Draghi has repeatedly said there are other policy tools the ECB could use -- and some of the more unconventional measures have recently garnered attention.
Ahead of April's monetary policy decision, Germany's Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann stoked speculation by saying QE had not been ruled out. Unlike central banks in the U.K., U.S. and elsewhere, the ECB has not launched a bond-buying program, and speculation that one might be in the works has given stocks a boost.
On the data front, a March house price index for the U.K. showed a slight decline in prices last month. Data from Halifax showed prices slipped 1.1 percent.
Meanwhile, German industrial orders rose 0.6 percent in February. This compared to a 0.1 percent figure forecast by economists in a Reuters poll.
In stocks news, shares of Easyjet climbed 2 percent after the airline released a fresh traffic data for March.
Spirit maker Remy Cointreau saw its shares surge up to 3.5 percent on speculation that Brown-Forman was contemplating a bid for the firm.
Meanwhile, cement-maker Holcim confirmed it was in "advanced discussions" with rival Lafarge over a possible tie-up. Holcim shares closed up around 7 percent, while Lafrage's rose 6.3 percent.
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