European shares close higher on China data; miners rally
European shares closed higher on Friday, boosted by mining stocks which received a lift from broadly positive Chinese data, as well as a strong performance from European bank stocks.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index provisionally closed 0.6 percent higher at 1,229.07 points.
China's industrial output jumped 9.7 percent in July from the year ago period, government figures showed on Friday, beating a market forecast by Reuters for a 9 percent again.
Plus, Chinese trade figures on Thursday surged past expectations, supporting European shares and increasing hopes that the world's second biggest economy is stabilizing after more than two years of slowing growth.
Basics resources stocks were the big gainers, with the sector's shares rising 4.6 percent.
The UK mining index, which includes heavyweights such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, climbed 4.9 percent. Precious metals producer Fresnillo closed roughly 7.7 percent higher, while miners Anglo American and Randgold Resources were also among the top gainers on the FTSE index, up 5.7 percent and 6.49 percent respectively.
Dennis Gartman, founder of the Gartman Letter, says there was credence to the data which proved the Chinese economy was still chugging along.
"China, I'm afraid is not slowing down as much as everybody wants to have us believe that China's slowing down. I understand that brilliant people are out there telling me that China's slowing. I haven't seen data that shows me that's true," Gartman said.
(Read more: China market bounce: trend change or false alarm?)
However, the Chinese data was not good enough to help U.S. stocks in Friday trade, with major indexes on track for their worst week since June amid ongoing worries about when the Fed may start to wind down its stimulus program.
(Read more: China data blitz points to stabilizing economy)
Back in Europe, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's telecom giant America Movil (AMX) said on Friday it is launching an offer to purchase all shares of Dutch telecom group KPN at 2.4 euros per share. The news sent KPN stock soaring, provisionally closing up 16 percent.
(Read more: Why Carlos Slim'sKPN bid may be all about Germany)
German's biggest lender Commerzbank was the top gainer on the DAX on the back of better-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday and news that CEO Martin Blessing pledged he would not step down until his reform program had been completed. Shares in the bank closed higher again, roughly up 3.06 percent.
Paris's CAC 40 and Madrid's IBEX were also driven higher by rising banking stocks. The CAC closed up roughly 0.3 percent, following a surprisingly strong earnings season, with Societe Generale closing up 1.53 percent while Michelin added 1.85 percent. The IBEX provisionally closed up 0.5 percent.