European investors looked past weaker manufacturing data and a rate hike from China Friday, preferring to focus instead on what is expected to be a solid jobs report from the U.S. later in the session.

The People's Bank of China raised short-term interest rates by 10 basis points overnight while the CAIXIN manufacturing index pointed toward a slowdown in industrial growth for the world's second largest economy in January.  

On a quiet morning for corporate earnings, many of Thursday's losers pared losses, helping to drive returns for indices across the continent.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.27% in London, at 7,159, two hours into the session while the DAX in Germany gained 0.26% to 11,656 and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.68% to 4,826. The IBEX in Spain was up 0.52% to 9,454 and the FTSE MIB in Italy was up 0.76% to 19,032.

In London, gains for media, pharma and financial stocks helped to offset weakness in the mining sector.

Big movers were seen in the banking sector, which was buoyant in anticipation of a great repeal of crisis era regulations to come from the White House, although not all movement was positive.

The Stoxx 600 Europe Banks Index was up more than 1% to be quoted at 445.79.

RBS (RBS) and Barclays (BCS) topped the FTSE 100 in London, alongside pharma companies Astrazeneca  (AZN - Get Report) and Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HKMPY) , all of which were up between 1% and 2%.

Banco Popular (BPESF) stock fell by as much as 8% in Spain after reporting a larger than expected loss for the fourth quarter, at €3.6 billion ($3.8 billion), and a weaker capital buffer which has fed speculation it might be forced into a rights issue over the coming months.

Intesa Sanpaolo (ISNPY) stock rose on Friday after it appeared to backpedal on previous suggestions that it is seeking a takeover of insurer, Generali (ARZGY) .

Deutsche Bank (DB - Get Report) stock also gained nearly 2% as the lender pared losses racked up on Thursday when it too reported a larger than expected quarterly loss.

Elsewhere, outside of the banking sector, Volkswagen (VLKAY) stock pared some of Thursday's losses when the shares gained 0.94% to feature among the top ten risers in the DAX. The bulk of the European auto sector recovered ground given up on Thursday, after Daimler (DDAIF) missed expectations for fourth quarter earnings, although the Mercedes-Benz maker saw its stock fall for the second straight session on Friday. 

In France, tyre firm Michelin  (MGDDY) saw its stock top the CAC 40 as investors continued to reward its decision to implement an 8% price increase across all products in the NAFTA area.  The shares were up 2.5% on Friday morning.  

U.S. equity futures suggest a 24 point decline at the open of trading on Wall Street Friday for the Dow, but much will depend on the January employment report from the U.S. Labor Department. Analysts are expecting the estimate to show American companies add 175,000 new jobs last month and for the headline unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 4.7%.