European markets posted solid gains by Friday's close, as investors cheered on the rally in mining stocks, a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report and a recovery in oil prices.
US jobs beat
The pan-European STOXX 600 finished up 0.7 percent provisionally. On the week, the STOXX 600 jumped 3.1 percent. London's FTSE jumped 1.1 percent by the close, while France's CAC ended 0.9 percent up. Germany's DAX fell slightly behind its counterparts, closing up 0.7 percent. All sectors finished mostly higher.
Sentiment was buoyed by new data that showed the U.S. economy added a better-than-expected 242,000 jobs in February. Its unemployment rate came in at a steady 4.9 percent. Economists were initially expecting 190,000 new positions and no change in the jobless figure.
Despite the strong number, the average hourly wages declined, falling 3 cents for the month. Fed policymakers are looking at wages for evidence of inflation. The average hourly work week also declined 0.2 hours to 34.4.
"A strong report. The only fly in the ointment was a dip in earnings," analysts at Credit Agricole said in a note.
Despite a weak open, U.S. stocks traded mostly higher on Friday, after the monthly jobs report and oil prices boosted market sentiment.
Outside of the U.S., investors were keeping an eye on oil prices, which showed signs of recovery on Friday, following the positive jobs data.
Oil prices jumped 3 percent or more by Europe's close, with Brent rising to $38.43 a barrel, while its U.S. counterpart W.T.I crude also soared, hovering around $35.72. Seadrill had its best day in 7 years on Friday, on the back of positive oil prices and news that its owner sold 37.8 million shares in Marine Harvest, according to Reuters. Shares skyrocketed, closing almost 39 percent higher.
Subsea 7 also closed up 8.8 percent, despite UBS cutting its price target for the stock.
The miners also got some support from another leg up in metals prices with investors shrugging off weak data out of China early this week. Glencore closed up nearly 12 percent with BHP Billiton finishing over 9 percent up. Basic Resources was Friday's best performing sector, closing up 6.4 percent.
Anglo American jumped 11 percent. This comes as the miner reached a $30 million settlement with AngloGold Ashanti, after 4,400 gold miners contracted the fatal lung disease silicosis while working underground, Reuters reported.
Mining shares hit a four-month high on Friday, according to Reuters data.
Earnings in focus
On the earnings front, the London Stock Exchange posted a 27 percent rise in adjusted operating profit as it moves towards a potential merger with Deutsche Boerse. Shares however closed almost 1.5 percent lower.
Shares in Dutch digital security company Gemalto closed over 9 percent higher after it posted full year net profit that beat analyst expectations.
In other news, the STOXX 600 Banks sector finished some 5.7 percent on the week, its best week in more than a year, back to the week ending January 23, 2015 when the STOXX Banks gained 5.99%.