The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3% to 442.52 points after briefly surpassing its April record high of 443.61 in early session. The German DAX rose 0.9%, inching closer to its life high, while France's CAC 40 hit its highest level since November 2000 and UK's FTSE 100 breached the 7,100 mark for the first time since February 2020. "It's going to be an exceptionally strong couple of quarters going forward, and that makes it very unlikely that the market will suffer in a big way over the next six months," said Andrea Cicione, head of strategy at TS Lombard.
It comes as hiring in the UK surged last month as the economy reopened under Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown. Vacancies soared at their fastest pace in 23 years.
European stock markets are seen edging higher at the open Friday, boosted by strong trade data out of China but with investors cautious ahead of the key monthly U.S. employment report. At 2:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.1% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%. Stock markets have climbed to record levels of late--the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an all-time high on Wall Street on Thursday--as economic data has pointed to a strong global recovery.