The biggest three-day jump since January sent European stocks to an all-time high.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 1.1 percent to 409.15 at the close of trading in London. German industrial production rose in February, the latest of economic data in the euro area beating forecasts.
The Stoxx 600 has rallied 19 percent this year as the European Central Bank started a quantitative-easing program. The one from the Federal Reserve helped U.S. shares more than triple from a 12-year low in March 2009. Minutes from the Fed’s last meeting showed officials were split on the timing for a first interest-rate increase.
“This year Europe is in favor because of the huge QE put in place by the ECB,” said Pierre Mouton, who helps oversee $8 billion at Notz, Stucki & Cie. in Geneva. “On one side, you have the U.S. with a good economy and a market that has already gone up a lot. On the other side, you have Europe with a nascent recovery and a market that has only started to perform.”
All industry groups climbed on Thursday, with carmakers and construction companies leading the advance. Lafarge SA added 5.7 percent and Holcim Ltd. rose 3.6 percent after the cement makers agreed to appoint Eric Olsen to lead their combined operation as they seek to overcome lingering opposition from some shareholders to their planned merger.
Portugal’s PSI 20 Index climbed 2 percent, the biggest gain among 18 western-European markets. The Swiss Market Index added 1.6 percent, led by Swatch Group AG and Cie. Financiere Richemont SA. Credit Suisse Group AG predicted first-quarter organic sales at European luxury-goods companies will rise 3 percent. France’s CAC 40 Index gained 1.4 percent, closing at its highest level since January 2008.
Greece’s ASE Index rose 1.1 percent after a person familiar with the matter said the ECB increased the emergency aid for the nation’s banks. Greece met its payment obligation to the International Monetary Fund that was due on Thursday.
Shire Plc lost 1.2 percent after an experimental drug to treat a rare genetic disorder that affects the liver failed to meet targets in a mid-stage trial.
The volume of Stoxx 600 shares changing hands was 19 percent lower than the 30-day average.
(A previous version of this story was corrected to rectify the 2015 move for the Stoxx 600 in the third paragraph.)