LONDON (TheDeal) -- The roller coaster week in European stocks continued Thursday, as the region's main markets posted strong gains following Wednesday's falls, which reversed Tuesday's rise, which had gone some way to righting Monday's tumble.
Frankfurt's DAX led the way higher in early trading gaining 2.42% to 10,239.04. In Paris, the CAC 40 climbed 2.23% to 4,601.23, while London's FTSE 100 lagged with a still welcome 1.92% gain to 6,094.25.
Markets were buoyed by Wednesday's rises in the U.S. and overnight rallies across Asia, including China, where the Shanghai Composite Index finished the day 5.3% higher, posting its first positive result since Wednesday last week.
Building-products maker CRH (CRH) - Get Report led the U.K. market higher, climbing 5.22% after it announced an agreement to buy Los Angeles-based window glazing companyC.R. Laurence for $1.3 billion and said that its first-half sales had climbed 13%.
German health care group Fresenius (FMS) - Get Report was up 3.23%, making it the top performer on the DAX, after it announced plans to increase its dividend by more than 20%. The company said it expected to post net income of €1.4 to €1.5 billion ($1.6 to $1.7 billion) for 2015, hitting a target that it had initially aimed to achieve by 2017.
French conglomerate Bouygues (BOUYF) opened more than 5% higher after claiming that earning at its telecom unit would increase to €750 million this year, up from €694 million in 2014, due to strong sales and deeper-than-forecast cost cutting. The telecom unit, which was the target of an $11 billion bid byAltice (ATCEY) earlier in the year, had previously said earnings would not grow this year.
French markets were also buoyed by an unexpected rise in France's official manufacturing confidence index, which ticked up one point to 103 on Thursday, suggesting that French order books and output are growing faster than predicted.
Economists will be hoping for similar good news from the U.S., where the Commerce Department will release its revised GDP estimate at 8:30 a.m. in Washington. The consensus is that the revised annualized growth rate will come in at about 3.2%, against an earlier estimate of 2.3%.
The big story of the week continued to be China, where stock markets flirted with another losing day before a monumental final hour rally delivered the biggest daily gain in eight weeks. The sharp climb left a group of Chinese stocks, including China Citic Bank (CHBJF) , suspended after they hit their maximum 10% daily movement limit.
The Shanghai Composite finished the day 5.3% higher, at 3,083.59.
While the search for logic in Chinese stock movements is probably futile at the moment, the rally may have been sparked by Beijing's announcement of a press conference on Friday. The Chinese government is expected to announce further measures to support stocks, including plans to allow state-controlled pension funds to invest as much as a third of their capital in shares.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng followed the mainland lead with its own late rally, closing Thursday up 3.6% at 21838.54. Tokyo's markets plotted a more sedate path as they posted their second daily gain in a row. The Nikkei 225 closed up 1.08% at 18,574.44, while the Topix climbed 1.5% to 1,500.41. And in Australia, the ASX 200 made it three daily rises in a row with a gain of 1.17%, to close at 5,233.3.