Germany's DAX gained 45.79 points, or 1.05%, to close at 4387.80. Frankfurt gained ground thanks to late-session inspiration from strong U.S. markets. Wall Street was lifted as an announcement of a share split at Apple - on the back of iPod-related boom - offset a disappointing report from Dell. Continental continued its recent rally reflecting investors appetite for the auto parts sector. Deutsche Boerse gained 2.30% as speculation mounted over the likely success of its bid for the LSE. Thyssen gained 1.32% along with peer Saltzgitter after both raised the prospect of higher prices for steel products. DaimlerChrysler underperformed following several negative broker comments and revisions of price targets.
In France, the CAC-40 gained 46.38 points, or 1.17%, to close at 4016.75, ending on a 32-month high after staging an eleventh hour sprint over the 4000 mark. Danone rose 2.69% after accompanying lower-than-expected net profit and operating results with consensus-beating organic sales growth of 7.8% and confirmation of fiscal 2005 targets: organic sales were up 5 to 7%, operating margin was up 20 to 40 basis points, and pre-exceptional earnings per share were up 10%. Publicis' slipped 1.47% after posting in line fiscal 2004 sales, but the group predicts that new business growth for 2005 will outpace the industry. Clarins fell 2.02% on a potential contraction in fiscal 2005 margins.
Asian markets were mostly closed on Friday. Japan's Nikkei was closed for National Foundation Day while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was closed for Chinese New Year.
Canada's benchmark TSX/S&P gained 62.14 points, or 0.65%, to close at 9,558.50.