European stocks eked out marginal gains on Friday and the euro rebounded against the dollar after falling sharply the day before on expectations of sooner-than-expected US interest rate hikes. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 0.02 percent to stand at 6,543.87 points at around midday in the British capital. The CAC 40 in Paris was also up 0.02 percent to 4,328.80 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 gained 0.12 percent to 9,307.59 compared with Thursday's closing values. Global markets had skidded in early trading Thursday after new Fed chief Janet Yellen said a US rate rise could come "around six months" after the bank's stimulus programme ends. Economists took that to mean an increase in borrowing costs in the first half of 2015. They had forecast a hike in the latter part of the year. "European markets are trading higher (Friday)... mirroring market action in the US and Asia overnight as better than expected US economic data and positive bank stress tests results managed to draw some attention away from the Crimean crisis," said Markus Huber, senior trader at Peregrine & Black. "EU and the US placing further sanctions on Russia overnight had little to no impact on markets mainly because this was widely expected anyway and the sanctions themselves so far have been limited to individuals only. "As there have been no general trade or energy sanctions so far there should be no negative fallout for global growth at this stage." Wall Street also opened higher on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.20 percent to 16,362.49 points. The broad-based S&P 500 rose climbed 0.60 percent edged down 0.08 percent to 1,872.01, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.54 percent at 4,319.29. In foreign exchange trade Friday, the euro rose to $1.3785 from $1.3778 late on Wednesday in New York. On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold climbed to $1,337.80 an ounce from $1,327 on Thursday. The dollar had risen strongly after Yellen's hint about higher rates. The euro also rose against the British pound on Friday, reaching 83.55 pence compared with 83.48 on Thursday. The pound dipped to $1.6499 from $1.6506. British state borrowing worsened in February, official data showed Friday, but the government remains on track to meet the new deficit target unveiled earlier this week. "February's public finances figures confirm that the UK's budget deficit is continuing to make slow downward progress," said Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics. Asian stock markets closed higher on Friday as bargain-hunters moved in after the previous session's heavy losses, with investors taking a lead from Wall Street and a positive batch of US data. The US Labor Department released figures showing initial claims for jobless benefits were lower than expected last week, while the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's March manufacturing activity index beat forecasts. Also, the Conference Board's leading economic index for February came in above expectations, while US existing-home sales for February met expectations.