European markets ended with gains. In London, the FTSE 100 index was up 31.50 points, or 0.60%, at 5,245.50, as the U.S. market traded mixed. There was little reaction to a report that U.K. distribution growth slowed to 0.8% in the fourth quarter. However, demand for workers increased in February for first time in 10 months, suggesting the U.K. economy is reviving.
In Germany, the DAX index was up 56.59 points, or 1.08%, to 5,285.26. The German unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.1% in February with the number of jobless rising less than expected. But factory orders unexpectedly fell 2.1%. The data suggest a slow German economic recovery.
In France, the CAC 40 index gained 7.39 points, or 0.16%, to 4,588.14.
Asian markets finished mildly higher. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index gained 10.08 points, or 0.09%, to 11,358.53 as the upside from technical buy-backs in big-cap stocks related to new restrictions to short sales was offset by profit-taking after sharp gains over the past week.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 17.16 points, or 0.16%, to 11,033.00.