UK stocks : FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct
Brewer Heineken and French vouchers and pre-paid cards group Edenred were among the top gainers after reporting 2012 results that were buoyed by their exposure to fast-growing emerging markets.
Sentiment on Europe improved too, thanks to strong demand at an Italian bond auction - despite uncertainty surrounding next week's elections there - and euro zone factory output data that confirmed a slow recovery.
"You are seeing some slight economic optimism coming in, and that's why the market is going up. We are trying to make up what we lost last week," said Oliver Roth, head trader at Close Brothers Seydler.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed up 0.4 percent at 1,165.61 points, its highest finish since a steep sell-off on Feb. 4 on concerns over the Italian election and a Spanish corruption scandal.
"Clearly the market is in a good momentum. From a technical point of view the market still looks very strong," said Steen Jakobsen, chief economist and CIO at Saxo Bank.
Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent, with the gains accelerating after it broke through January's peak to set 5-year highs.
Germany's DAX was another strong performer, adding 0.7 percent to close above technical resistance of 7,700 points.
"It means we have a real good chance to test 7,800 now ... but we need much more than a bit of economic optimism
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