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Europe closes sharply higher on US GDP, oil boost

European markets ended sharply higher on Thursday, as U.S. and Asian markets rebounded and oil prices rocketed.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index cheered at the close, finishing 3.5 percent up. London's FTSE 100 ended 3.6 percent higher, while France's CAC and Germany's DAX saw a 3.5 and 3.2 percent pop, respectively.

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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China's Shanghai Composite closed 5.4 percent higher on Thursday, and after the markets closed in Asia, reports emerged that China had expanded its debt-for-bond swap program for local governments to 3.2 trillion yuan ($499.7 billion), from 2 trillion yuan.

Oil was also a big topic of discussion, as both Brent crude and U.S. crude prices surged 8 percent.

On the data front, the second estimate of second-quarter GDP for the U.S. came in at 3.7 percent, topping the first read of an annualized 2.3 percent.

U.S. stocks attempted a bounce for a second consecutive day on Thursday, boosted by the GDP data.

In Europe, French business morale in August rose to 100, its highest level in four years, and up from 99 in the previous month, according to an index released by France's national statistics agency INSEE.

Pernod Ricard fizzles

After sinking 18 percent on Wednesday, shares in Swiss agricultural chemicals maker Syngenta rose 4.9 percent by Thursday's close, as investors speculated that management might be forced into propping up shares after U.S. seeds giant Monsanto dropped its pursuit of the company.

The STOXX 600 basic resource and oil and gas sector saw a strong rebound on Thursday as commodity prices bounced and Chinese stocks finished the day higher.

Anglo American, for instance, ended up 9.3 percent.

There were just a handful of stocks in the red on Thursday. French spirits maker Pernod Ricard on Thursday reported weaker than expected full-year profit, hit by an impairment charge on Absolut vodka. Shares in the company finished down 1.7 percent.

Shares in mobile chipmaker Gemalto tanked over 12 percent after the company said the closure of its U.S. mobile payment service Softcard in the second half of the year would have an impact on its ability to grow mobile revenues.