European stock markets closed on an upbeat note on Thursday as traders reacted to a string of earnings updates, data pointing to further easing of eurozone economic strains, and fresh takeover speculation. Stock indices got a boost from well-received profits news from Apple and Facebook on Wednesday following the close of trading on Wall Street, analysts said, and New York markets were up on Thursday. Concern over the crisis in Ukraine however capped the optimism on financial and oil markets, and the euro eased slightly against the dollar over the escalating tensions. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day 0.42 percent up at 6,703 points. Germany's DAX 30 closed slightly up 0.05 percent at 9.548.68 points, with data revealing that German business confidence rebounded this month, after a slight fall in March in Europe's biggest economy when companies worried about the Crimea crisis. In Paris, the CAC-40 rose 0.64 percent to 4,479.54 points. And in Madrid, the IBEX 35 gained 0.36 percent to 10,462 points after Spain's central bank said the country's economy grew at the fastest pace for six years in the first quarter of 2014. European stock markets had closed lower on Wednesday, shrugging off strong eurozone data as concerns about the Chinese economy prompted traders to take profits after a three-day winning streak. "European markets are moving to the upside on the back of better than expected corporate data out of the US late yesterday evening," said Markus Huber, senior analyst at broker Peregrine & Black. "Tech heavyweights Facebook and Apple both posted better-than-expected results and consequently instilled new optimism into the markets." - AstraZeneca, Alstom shares surge - In New York, the Dow Jones index rose 0.12 percent and the Nasdaq gained 0.56 percent, as investors shrugged off poor data showing that jobless claims were higher than expected last week. Company deals were in focus, with the share price of British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca jumping 3.28 percent to 4,175 pence as the company's turnaround programme appeared on track despite profits halving in the first quarter. In Paris, shares in French engineering group Alstom, which builds power-generating equipment and high-speed trains, shot up 10.93 percent to 27.00 euros on rumours that US General Electric may make a takeover bid. Alstom issued a statement to say that it had no knowledge of any such offer -- after financial news agency Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that GE was in advanced talks to buy Alstom for more than $13.0 billion (9.4 billion euros). The Paris market was marked by several results statements. Shares in engineering group Schneider Electric jumped 5.05 percent to 68.38 euros after the company reported unexpectedly strong first-quarter sales. Shares in leading tyre maker Michelin fell by 4.23 percent to 88.83 euros on a fall in quarterly sales which the company blame don the strength of the euro. Spirits group Pernod Ricard, number two in the world in its sector, reported a 7.0-percent fall in sales in its third quarter, blaming exchange-rate factors and a downturn of sales in China, the latest the latest luxury products group to suffer from a Chinese campaign against ostentatious entertainment. Nine-month sales were down 7.0 percent, and the shares ended the day flat at 85.70 euros. Tensions in Ukraine meanwhile weighed on the European currency, as Russia launches new military exercises on the border and warned of consequences after Kiev sent in troops to fight pro-Kremlin rebels in the east. Concerns about tension over Ukraine and energy supplies to Europe also pushed up the price of oil slightly. In foreign exchange deals on Thursday, the euro eased to $1.3791 from $1.3816 late in New York on Wednesday, but later recovered to 1.3829. On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold rose to $1,289.60 an ounce from $1,285.25 on Wednesday.