European equities closed higher on Thursday with the FTSE up 2.48%, the DAX up 1.79%, and the CAC-40 higher 2.24%.
In European economic news, the U.K. reported that GDP was estimated to have increased by 0.5% in volume terms between Q3 2015 and Q4 2015. Between 2014 and 2015, GDP increased in volume terms by 2.2%. Between Q4 2014 and Q4 2015, GDP in volume terms increased by 1.9%. U.K. GDP in current prices remained flat between Q3 2015 and Q4 2015.
In Germany, the country's Federal Statistical Office reported today that price-adjusted new orders in the main construction industry in December 2015 increased 3.9% from November 2015. In building construction and civil and underground engineering, in establishments of enterprises with 20 or more persons, turnover increased 6.8% compared with December 2014.
The French government said today during Q4 2015, prices of second-hand dwellings rose slightly the second consecutive quarter. And for the first time since early 2012, prices of houses increased over a year, rising 0.6% between Q4 2014 and Q4 2015.
In company news, the U.K.'s Lloyds Banking Group surged 9.6% to help push the FTSE into positive territory. Also buoying the market were other banks, such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, which gained 5.1% and 5.2% respectively.
On the DAX, Fresenius Medical Care closed higher 4.7%, pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA rose 4.4%, Deutsche Post ended the day up 4.3%, while national airline group Lufthansa gained 3.5%.
In Paris, the CAC-40 was lead higher by Technip, which jumped 11.6%, chemical industrial company Solvay rose 5.6%, building materials company LafargeHolcim rose 4.8% and Airbus Group ended the day up 4.4%.
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