European stock markets came back with a bang on Thursday as investors bought back risk assets that were sold off on Wednesday.

London led the way among the region's benchmarks after October data showed retail sales surging to a 14-year high during the recent month, easing concerns over the economy and sending consumer and real estate stocks sharply higher.

The FTSE 100 gained 0.6% to 6,791.8 and the FTSE 250 was up by 0.7% to 17,589.2.

In continental Europe, the German DAX rose by 0.2% to 10,682.5 and the French CAC 40 gained 0.5% to 4,524.4. The Stoxx Europe 600 index, the broadest measure of European stocks, was up 0.7% at 340.7.

The pound also benefited from Thursday's economic data, helping it to hold ground against the dollar during a trading session that saw the euro give way. The pound sterling was broadly flat against the greenback when stock markets closed, changing hands at 1.2440, while the euro was down by 50 points at 1.0653.

Fixed income markets saw German yields down, with French and U.K. yields higher, as investors responded to stronger economic data on one side of the English channel and more talk of election risks in France come 2017.

The details of U.K. data confounded economists and post-referendum pessimists across the nation after retail sales rose by 1.9% on a month-on-month basis and 7.4% when compared with the same period of the previous year -- the strongest pace of growth seen in the U.K. since April 2002. Forecasters had expected month-on-month growth of 0.5% and annual growth of 5.4%.

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