European stocks shot higher Thursday as investors enjoyed a respite from volatile Chinese markets being closed for a long holiday weekend.
The FTSE 100 index of leading shares soared 1.52 percent to stand at 6,175.58 points approaching midday in London.
Paris's CAC 40 index climbed 1.38 percent to 4,617.95 and in Frankfurt the DAX 30 jumped 1.64 percent to 10,213.23.
A rally on Wall Street on Wednesday on upbeat US data also helped improve sentiment in European trading, as did calm on Asian markets.
"At least for a few days, concerns over China can be put to one side while the country closes its exchanges to celebrate seventy years since the end of World War II," said CMC Markets UK analyst Jasper Lawler.
"European markets made headway in morning trading, tracking an advance on Wall Street yesterday ahead of what is expected to be a dovish ECB meeting."
The European Central Bank is universally expected to keep its main rate at a record low 0.05 percent on Thursday, but analysts are looking for signals that it could step up stimulus.
Beyond causing panic in stock markets in recent weeks, slower growth in China -- the world's number two economy -- has led to drops in commodity prices and a rebound in the euro that are complicating the ECB's efforts to combat deflation and restore growth.
The euro dipped to $1.1223 in midday European trading from $1.1225 late on Wednesday in New York.
"Following the wild sell-off in the equity complex, the central banks are naturally expected to remain fully supportive of the financial markets," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya at London Capital Group, who put an increase in US interest rates to December at the earliest.
In corporate action, shares in low-cost airline EasyJet soared 5.3 percent to 1,761 pence after it raised its full year pre-tax profit forecast to a record 675-700 million pounds (917-950 million euros, $1.03-1.07 billion).
Shares in supermarket chain Morrison jumped 4.23 percent to 170.00 pence on reports that South African billionaire Christo Wiese, already present in the British market, may go on a shopping spree.
In Switzerland, shares in Syngenta grew 3.30 percent to 337.70 francs after the agricultural products giant announced a share buyback of more than $2 billion and would sell its vegetable seeds business.
Syngenta, which last week saw its share price plunge 18 percent after US seed giant Monsanto finally dropped its campaign to buy it, said the measures aimed to "accelerate shareholder value creation".
However shares in French electricity company EDF slumped 3.77 percent to 18.01 euros after it announced a further delay in the startup of its next-generation nuclear reactor in Flamanville, which will increase the cost overruns for the project.
In Asian trading, Tokyo ended 0.48 percent higher as the yen remained weak, while Seoul ended slightly higher and there were comfortable gains for Singapore and Taipei.
Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed to mark World War II Victory Day commemorations in China.
However, lingering concerns about Australia's commodity dependent-economy kept Sydney in the red, with the ASX 200 ending down 1.44 percent, while the "Aussie" dollar struggled around six-year lows marginally above 70 US cents.