Shares in Lloyds Bank climbed on Thursday, helping the U.K.'s FTSE 100 close the day higher for a fourth-straight session. Most European bourses were closed however for the May Labor day public holiday.
The FTSE 100 provisionally closed higher by 0.4 percent at 6,808.87 points, its highest level in about two months.
U.K. bank Lloyds reported a rise in underlying profit for the first quarter of 2014, with the company planning to restart dividend payments. Its underlying profit grew 22 percent to £1.8 billion ($3.0 billion), compared to the same period last year.
It added that costs had reduced by 5 percent and impairment charges had reduced by 57 percent. Investors cheered the news with shares closing higher by 5.3 percent.
Meanwhile, shares of BSkyB closed higher by around 3.9 percent after it reported it had added a promising 74,000 new TV customers in the last quarter. Plus, shares of fund manager Schroders finished the day higher by 2.2 percent after the company reported that assets under management had hit a record in the first quarter.
On the data front, a U.K. house price index from Nationwide showed prices soared 10.9 percent in April year-on-year, beating analysts' expectations.
In addition, a manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers' index) survey for the U.K. showed a rise to 57.3 in April, versus estimates of 55.4 and a previous figure of 55.8.
US jobs in focus
U.S. stocks wavered on Thursday, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to a record finish. Attention now turns to Friday's official non-farm payrolls report. Reuters is predicting a 200,000 gain in April jobs, which would be a modest improvement on March's 192,000.
In Asia, markets including China, South Korea and Hong Kong were closed. However, China did publish its official PMI index. This showed a rise to 50.4 for April, just missing analysts' expectations. However, it was better than March's 50.3.
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