LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stock indices surged on Tuesday as markets reopened after the Easter break, amid optimism that the Federal Reserve may hold off longer than previously expected before raising rates.

Weak nonfarm payroll data last week combined with remarks from New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley yesterday that the timing of the next rate rise will be "data-dependent and remains uncertain" fed that optimism.

In London, the FTSE 100 was up 1.24% to 6,917.90, led by power producer BGundefined, mining equipment maker Weir (WEIGF) and minersAntofagasta (ANFGY) , Fresnillo (FNLPF) and Glencore (GLCNF) .

In Frankfurt, the DAX climbed 0.95% to 1,2081.08, and in Paris, the CAC 40 gained 1.23% to 5,136.43.

In the eurozone, the Euro Stoxx 50 also gained more than 1%, led by power companiesGDF Suez (GDFZY) , RWE (RWEOY) , and E.ON (EONGY) , and oil producers Total (TOT) - Get Total SA Sponsored ADR Class B Report, Repsol (REPYY) , and Eni (E) - Get Eni S.p.A. Sponsored ADR Report.

In Athens, the Greek benchmark index made similar gains to Western European peers amid hopes it will make a key debt repayment to its international creditors by a Thursday deadline.

In the eurozone, a final report on the Markit Economics purchasing managers' index put the index at an 11-month high of 54 in March, up from 53.3 in February, and well above the 50 threshold that signifies expansion rather than contraction.

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In Amsterdam, struggling Dutch logistics company TNT Express (TNTEY) was up more than 30% after FedEx (FDX) - Get FedEx Corporation Reportagreed to buy the company for €8 per share, or € 4.4 billion ($4.8 billion). The deal comes about two years after United Parcel Service's (UPS) - Get United Parcel Service, Inc. Class B Report own €9.50-per-share bid for TNT collapsed after antitrust regulators indicated they would block it.

In London, airlineRyanair Holdings (RYAAY) - Get Ryanair Holdings Plc Sponsored ADR Report and smaller rival FlyBe both rose on the release of traffic data. Ryanair said March traffic grew by 28% to 6.67 million customers, while FlyBe said passenger volumes increased by 15% in its final quarter as it predicted it would break even before one-time items in the full year, after losing £9 million ($13.4 million) last year.

But J.P. Morgan downgrades weighed on rivals Deutsche Lufthansa (DLAKY) in Frankfurt, Air France-KLM (AFLYY) in Paris and International Consolidated Airlines (ICAGY) in London.

In Milan, building materials maker Italcementi (ITALY) lost ground on the back of a UBS downgrade to sell from neutral as the analysts deemed the stock expensive.

In Paris, Vivendi (VIVHY) was up more than 1% after the company confirmed its interest in buying Youtube rival Dailymotion from French telecom Orange (ORAN) - Get Orange SA Sponsored ADR Report.

In Seoul, Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) reported first-quarter profit of 5.9 trillion won ($5.4 billion), ahead of expectations, in an earnings preview ahead of full financial results later this month. It ended the day down marginally, having risen sharply on Monday, just before the figures came out.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed up 1.25% at 19,640.54. The Topix gained 1.14% to close at 1,578.55.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was closed for a public holiday. Mainland Chinese indices rose more than 2% amid optimism about the market outlook ahead of earnings season.