BRUSSELS (Alliance News) - European stocks rallied on Friday, bouncing back from early losses to extend this week's modest gains.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks rose 0.40%, with most of the gains coming in the final hour of trading.
The European benchmark index has been up six weeks in a row amid speculation the European Central Bank will announce stimulus in June.
The German DAX rose 0.48% and the French CAC 40 was up 0.33%. The UK'sFTSE 100 lagged, dropping 0.07%.
Orange SA dropped 2% after Societe Generale SA lowered its recommendation
Lanxess was upgraded to ''Buy'' from ''Neutral'' at Goldman Sachs. Shares rose 0.92%.
Meanwhile, Alstom lost 0.9%. General Electric has agreed to extend its deadline by three weeks for its USD16.9 billion bid to acquire the energy assets of the speed-train maker.
In London, technology firm Smiths Group inched up 0.53%. The company said its underlying revenue for the nine months ended May 3, 2014 was slightly weaker than last year.
Go-Ahead Group jumped 9%, after announcing the award of UK's largest rail franchise.
Pandora A/S was down as some shareholders sold a stake of about 10% in the Danish jewelry maker.
Confidence among German firms deteriorated more-than-expected in May, reports said citing Ifo survey. Business confidence fell to 110.4 in May from 111.2 in April. The score was forecast to fall to 110.9.
Meanwhile, sovereign ratings of Spain and Greece were upgraded by major rating agencies as remedial measures taken by both nations over the last few years started to support economic recovery and revamp fiscal positions.
UK house prices continued to rise in May, as households expect the price of their property to rise at the strongest pace since early 2009, a combined survey by property consultancy Knight Frank and Markit Economics showed.
In economic news from the US, a report from the US Commerce Department showed that new home sales jumped by a more than expected 6.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 in April, from the revised March rate of 407,000. Economists had expected new home sales to climb to a rate of 420,000.
The revised rate for March represents a substantial upward revision from the 384,000 originally reported, although it still represents a six-month low.