LONDON ( The Deal) -- European stock indices followed many Asian markets higher on Thursday following better-than-expected trade data from China and after comments from Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen reassured investors about the monetary outlook.
China's exports and imports defied forecasts by rising in April. They increased 0.9% and 0.8%, respectively, recovering from steep declines the month before and assuaging fears about slowing Chinese growth dragging down the global economy.
But in Germany, industrial output unexpectedly fell in March, falling 0.5% and disappointing consensus expectations for an increase of 0.2%.
Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England meet later Thursday to decide whether to change benchmark rates from their current respective levels of 0.25% and 0.5%.
And in Washington, Yellen will address the Senate Budget committee, after she highlighted risks to the economy in a testimony before Congress on Wednesday.
In London, the FTSE 100 rose 0.50% to 6,830.17. In Frankfurt the DAX rose 0.60% to 9,578.02 and in Paris the CAC 40 climbed 0.54% to 4,470.56.
Lender Barclays (BCS) rose more than 5% in London as CEO Antony Jenkins announced the long-awaited outcome of his strategy review. The measures include 14,000 job cuts this year, up from the previously announced 12,000, and will result in greater-than-expected savings. Jenkins said he will put £115 billion ($195.1 billion) of primarily investment banking assets into a non-core unit, into which he will also pour all of Barclays' mainland European retail banking businesses. By the end of 2016 he wants to have more than halved the assets held in that noncore unit. And he said investment banking will account for no more than 30% of core assets by 2016, down from more than 50% right now.