European stock markets rebounded on Thursday as traders reacted to a string of earnings updates, data pointing to further easing of eurozone economic strains, and fresh takeover speculation. Indices won a boost in particular from well-received profits news from Apple and Facebook on Wednesday following the close of trading on Wall Street, analysts said. The euro gained against the dollar, aided by upbeat German business confidence. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.64 percent to stand at 6,717.71 points in late morning deals. Frankfurt's DAX 30 climbed 0.76 percent to 9,616.75 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. The CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.91 percent to 4,491.48 points compared with Wednesday's closing level. And in Madrid, the IBEX 35 gained 0.78 percent to 10,505.6 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," Markus Huber, senior analyst at broker Peregrine & Black, said on Thursday. "Tech heavyweights Facebook and Apple both posted better-than-expected results and consequently instilled new optimism into the markets." - AstraZeneca, Alstom shares surge - The share price of British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca jumped 5.13 percent to 4,250 pence in Thursday trading as the company's turnaround programme appeared on track despite profits halving in the first quarter. Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever meanwhile dropped 1.55 percent to 30.21 euros after the multi-national posted a first-quarter drop in sales. In Paris, shares in French engineering group Alstom, which builds power-generating equipment and high-speed trains, shot up nearly 14.0 percent to 27.74 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 5.65 percent to 68.77 euros after the company reported unexpectedly strong first-quarter sales. Shares in leading tyre maker Michelin fell by 3.76 percent to 89.26 euros on a fall in quarterly sales which the company blame don the strength of the euro. Shares in Technip, which has recently won big contracts for engineering on oil and gas projects, jumped 7.08 percent to 81.93 euros after the firm held to its targets even though net quarterly profit fell by 42.2 percent to 67.2 million euros. 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 slipped 0.18 percent to 85 52 euros. Water and waste management giant Suez Environnement reported a 2.1-percent fall in quarterly sales and underlying profit, which amounted to 552 million euros, and its shares fell 1.23 percent to 14.46 euros In foreign exchange deals on Thursday, the euro rose to $1.3828 from $1.3816 late in New York on Wednesday. The European single currency edged up to 82.33 British pence from 82.32 pence, while the pound grew to $1.6794 from $1.6781 on Wednesday. On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold dipped to $1,283.50 an ounce from $1,285.25 on Wednesday.