Europe stocks close higher on stimulus hopes and China data

European equities staged a broad-based rally to close higher on Friday at a five-year high, as investor confidence was buoyed by Chinese growth data and expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will keep monetary stimulus unchanged for months.


The FTSEurofirst300 Index provisionally closed higher 0.7 percent to 1,276.29 points. U.S. stocks rose Friday, with the S&P 500 extending its recent gains to hit a fresh high as Wall Street cheered some better-than-expected corporate earnings results, and after the U.S. government shutdown ended following an eleventh-hour debt deal.

Google soared more than 12 percent to top $1000 a share for the first time, after the search-engine giant posted better-than-expected earnings on Thursday after the closing bell.

Investors are now expecting that the U.S. Federal Reserve will delay the tapering of its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program, thus continuing with the extra liquidity that has helped stock markets push higher this year.

In Europe afternoon trading, Spain's IBEX passed the 10,000 mark for the first time since July 2011 before dropping back to close 0.7 percent up on Friday.

For the week, the FTSE 100 closed up 2.05 percent and the Italian FTSE MIB closed the week higher by 1.83 percent.

(Read More: Gartman: Money flows will now bypass the US)

Chinese growth rises

Meanwhile in Asia, stocks were mostly higher on Friday after China's economy grew at its fastest pace this year but gains were capped as investors remained skeptical whether the mainland's recovery was sustainable.

China's gross domestic product growth rose 7.8 percent on year in the third quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics reported on Friday, up from 7.5 percent in the previous three months.

In European news, U.S. President Barack Obama praised Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta's economic reforms when they met on Thursday. The praise for current reforms comes after former technocrat Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti resigned from the centrist party he founded after disagreeing with party members over the 2014 budget law, according to a statement on Thursday.

Elsewhere, a unit of British lender HSBC was hit with a record $2.46 billion final judgment in a U.S. securities class action lawsuit against a business formerly known as Household International, according to a report by Reuters. Shares in the bank still closed slightly up by 0.14 percent on Friday.

(Read More: HSBC hit with record $2.46 billion judgement)

SCA surges

In stocks news, shares of miner Anglo American closed down 1.35 percent after a mixed bag from its third-quarter earnings report. Copper output hit a record high helped by an improvement in its Chilean mine. However, iron ore production cam in significantly below expectations

Swedish consumer goods company SCA reported higher-than-expected third quarter earnings on Friday boosted by higher sales volumes and cost-cutting; shares closed higher by 6.9 percent.

Norwegian fertilizer firm Yara posted a 23 percent drop in third-quarter core earnings but plans to make a big investment in the U.S. market was enough to send shares up by 4.3 percent at close.

Among the day's losers, William Hill shares provisionally closed down 3.19 percent after the U.K. bookmaker received a downgrade to a "underweight" by JPMorgan.

(Read More: Google shares hit new high after earnings beat)

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