Europe Markets

Tech, upbeat sentiment helps Europe close higher

European shares closed higher Friday, as global markets resumed a rally on the back of extra liquidity in the euro zone, and some major merger and acquisitions news this week.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index closed around 0.9 percent higher, having breached a 2007 peak on Friday morning, according to Reuters.

Technology stocks lead the gains, with the sector lifted by enthusiasm over major Apple and Samsung product launches, as well as media reports that Finland's Nokia was considering selling its maps business HERE. Nokia shares closed nearly 4 percent higher.

On the macroeconomic side, European markets continue to be buoyed by the weak euro, and by the waning in fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve will deliver an interest rate hike soon.

On Friday, U.S. stocks also traded higher, with the Dow hitting the 18,000 mark for the first time in April, as investors eyed the start of earnings season and the rising dollar.

Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei index rose above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years.

Stock watch

Back in Europe, shares of French supermarket chain Carrefour closed around 2 percent higher after a first-quarter sales update on Friday.

U.K. housebuilders including Bellway and Barratt Development also outperformed, after a series of analyst upgrades before the market open.

HSBC shares closed around 1.3 percent higher, even though the banking behemoth has been placed under formal criminal investigation in France over alleged tax offences at its Swiss private bank, with a 1 billion euro ($1.1 billion) bail set.

At the other end of indexes, shares of British recruitment firm Hays sank as much as 4 percent after the British recruitment firm's third-quarter trading update.