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Europe ends sharply higher; Yoox surges on merger talks

European equities closed sharply higher on Monday, having extended gains throughout the session, as investors looked ahead to forthcoming U.S. jobs data.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 index closed around 1.1 percent higher, with a broad-based rally across all major bourses.

The German DAX provisionally closed 1.8 percent higher, with auto, technology and chemical sectors all climbing higher during the session.

The French CAC closed unofficially 1.1 percent higher, while London's FTSE 100 finished up 0.6 percent.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
FTSE
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DAX
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CAC
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IBEX 35
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Stock markets in U.S. and Europe will close early this week for the Easter vacation. The focus will remain, however, on non-farm payrolls data from the U.S., which will still be published on Friday.

If the jobs number is stronger than expected, June could be back in play for the first interest rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve. A weaker number could confirm the market's expectations for a slower return to higher rates.

Back in Europe, on Monday, a euro zone index measuring consumer and business confidence posted a better-than-expected rise for March. The index came in at 103.9, better than an estimate for 103.1.

A flash figure for German inflation also showed a slight rebound, meeting met market expectations. A figure for the whole euro zone is due on Tuesday.

Yoox, Dufry soar

In individual stocks news, shares of Yoox were suspended earlier on Monday, after surging at the open. The Italian internet retailer is negotiating a "business combination'" deal with Net-a-Porter. Yoox shares reopened to end almost 10 percent higher.

Read MoreWho's Yoox and why does it want Net-a-Porter?

Shares of global travel retailer Dufry also rallied over 8 percent after it announced it was undertaking a rights issue in order to pay for a planned takeover of Italy's World Duty Free.

Shares of BG Group slipped 2.5 percent after a ratings downgrade and a cut in price target for the oil and gas producer by BMO.

Meanwhile, Lafarge shares fell 2 percent after a Russian businessmen, who owns a stake in Holcim, reportedly rejected the terms of a merger between the two firms.