European stocks posted modest gains in volatile trading Thursday, having briefly turned negative after US unemployment claims rose more than expected.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.37 percent to end the day at 6,635.45 points, while in Frankfurt the DAX 30 climbed 0.41 percent to 9,248.51 and in Paris CAC 40 added 0.19 percent to 4,187.95 points.
Milan gained 0.43 percent but Madrid slid 0.17 percent.
European corporate earnings results helped push markets up solidly in early trade, recovering from losses Wednesday as global regulators fined six top European and US banks $4.2 billion (3.4 billion euros) for attempting to rig foreign exchange markets.
However higher than expected US jobless claims sent major European indices briefly negative, before bouncing back on investor Warren Buffet's $4.7 billion takeover of Duracell.
Trader Renaud Murail at Barclays Bourse said that without a catalyst the markets "are going from euphoria to depression real fast."
"There aren't any new elements but many uncertainties on the markets without a real catalyst and macroeconomic sluggishness," said Saxo Banque analyst Andrea Tueni.
But bad news has often been good news for equity markets on expectations that central banks will step up their support for sluggish economies, noted analyst Tony Cross at Trustnet Direct.
Chinese industrial production expanded by 7.7 percent year-on-year in October, China's statistics office said Thursday, down from an 8.0 percent gain in September and below expectations of an 8.0 percent rise.
Meanwhile, a survey by the European Cental Bank of professional forecasters found they believe ultralow inflation, along with low growth, is likely to last longer than previously thought.
"Hopes are that China will be the latest nation to introduce fresh stimulus measures to boost growth after its economy showed further signs of cooling," said Cross.
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European markets briefly went into negative territory as first-time requests for unemployment benefits in the United States, a key indicator of the pace of job losses, rose more than expected.
The number of benefit requests rose to 290,000 in the week ending November 8, a rise of 12,000 from the previous week and above the consensus forecast of a gain of 2,000.
But they bounced back after Wall Street opened back in record territory, after a pause on Wednesday, spurred by Berkshire Hathaway's $4.7 billion takeover of Duracell battery and strong results from Walmart.
In midday trading the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.30 percent to 17,664.57 points.
The broad-market S&P 500 edged up 0.01 percent to 2,038.46, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 0.16 percent to 4,682.43.
Asian markets were mixed Thursday after China released another batch of disappointing data indicating a slowdown in the economic giant.
In Thursday's foreign exchange deals, the European single currency rose to $1.2480 from $1.2438 late in New York on Wednesday, as dealers digested the latest inflation data in France and Germany.
The British pound meanwhile sank to $1.5725 -- the lowest level since mid-September 2013 -- one day after the Bank of England appeared to push back hopes for an interest rate hike into late 2015.
The pound later stood at $1.5729, down from $1.5781 on Wednesday. The euro rose to 79.34 British pence from 78.82.
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold slid to $1,161.75 an ounce from $1,164.50 late on Wednesday.