LONDON (The Deal) -- After the slump of the last couple of days, Europe seemed to be on the rise again at the opening of the markets on Friday. In part, it was just a case of following the U.S., after the Dow broke through 16,000 for the first time Thursday. But a better-than-expected November outturn of Germany's closely followed Ifo Index of business sentiment also improved the mood.

The Ifo reading of 109.3 was the highest since April 2012. And European markets were also bolstered by a $5 billion share buyback announced by Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis (NVS) - Get Report.

However, Germany's Dax Xetra index was paring some early gains and was back in negative territory, down 0.1% at 9,186. In Paris, the CAC40 was up 0.4% in early trade, but had fallen back slightly by mid-morning and it was a similar pattern in London, where the FTSE 100 also spiked at the open but was soon back below Thursday's close at 6,674.

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In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 hit a two month high before falling back slightly to close up 0.1% at 15,381.72. Sentiment there was buoyed not just by Thursday's pickup on Wall Street, but by news of a $1 billion investment in Japanese telecom and internet group Softbank by U.S. activist investor Dan Loeb, who is also busy shaking up entertainment and electronics giant Sony (SNE) - Get Report.

In Hong Kong, partly still driven by what happens in China, the Hang Seng was up nearly half a percent at 23,696.28, while in Korea, the Kospi IDX was up over 0.6% at 2006.23.