European benchmarks rose on Thursday after recent economic and geopolitical events left investors with an abundance of grounds for optimism during the session.

With an interest rate increase in the U.S. having been tempered by a Fed chair that was a lot less hawkish than some had expected, which pushed stocks higher and the dollar lower.

Added to this, smaller than expected gains for the anti-establishment candidate in the Dutch election on Wednesday led to a collective bout of exhaling among some European nations and also helped to ease nerves around the French election.

The mood remained positive among investors despite the session being marred by news of two attempted bombings in Europe, which have been claimed by a Greek protest movement, and a shooting at a French school.

The FTSE 100 rose by 0.64% in London before settling at 7,415. This is while the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.53% to 5,012 and the DAX in Frankfurt added 0.60% before coming to rest at 12,081.

Markets were at their strongest in southern Europe, with the FTSE MIB in Milan and the IBEX in Madrid both notching up gains of nearly 2% each.

Mining companies were a common theme of strength, as investors responded to a weaker dollar, with Glencore (GLNCF) , Antofagasta (ANFGY) , Fresnillo (FNLPF) and Rio Tinto (RIO) were all big risers.

But it was Anglo American (NGLOY) was the top riser in London, with a gain of nearly 9%, after an investment vehicle owned by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal bought a 13% stake in the London based-company.

Agarwal has said that he will not make an offer for the entire company although some have speculated that he could be seeking leverage in order to force a merger between Hindustan Zinc, a company that is still controlled by him, and Anglo American.

Defense stocks across Europe were mixed for the session with most investors failing to bite for second time on pledges from the Trump administration to boost military spending.

BAE Systems (BAESY) was up 0.8% for the session while Thales (THLEY) gained around 1% but Meggitt (MEGGF) and Leonardo (FINMY) were both lower.

Lufthansa (DLAKY) led the DAX index higher in Frankfurt after delivering a strong beat against forecasts for its 2016 bottom line.

The German airline reported full-year revenue of €31.6 billion ($33.2 billion), which was down 1.2% but broadly in line with the Factset FDS consensus. Earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) came in at €2.27 billion, up 35%, and considerably ahead of the consensus for €2.08 billion.

In Paris, French commercial real estate firms Unibail (UNBLF) and Klepierre (KLPEF) topped the CAC 40 index after weaker than expected gains for the anti-establishment candidate in the Netherlands eased some nerves about the pending French vote.

However, carmaker Renault (RNSDF) came under the cosh for a second day running, despite releasing positive sales figures for February, as investors continued to fret over an investigation into the company's practices around emissions tests in its home nation of France. The stock was down 7% at its lowest although it eventually pared some of this loss.

The banking sector was among the greatest beneficiaries of the Fed rate hike and evolving expectations around monetary policy elsewhere, particularly in light of the revelation that one out of the nine Bank of England rate setters broke ranks and voted for a hike at the latest meeting.