European stock markets rose on Friday and the euro gained against the dollar as investors looked ahead to a key IMF meeting and weekend French elections, and also kept watch over Spain.
In late morning deals London's FTSE 100 index gained 0.10 percent to 5,750.42 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 climbed 0.57 percent to 6,709.55 points and in Paris the CAC 40 advanced 0.28 percent to 3,182.91.
In foreign exchange trading, the euro firmed to $1.3158 from $1.3134 late in New York on Thursday.
"While ahead of the meeting several countries have pledged substantial funds to increase the firing power of the IMF, there are still other important countries like Brazil and the UK who are not quite as forthcoming.
"Ongoing hesitation and wrangling about who should contribute what and how much might not prove very constructive as investors patience's could run out rather sooner than later."
IMF head Christine Lagarde said on Thursday that the crisis lender would get a significant boost to its intervention capacity this week as worries mounted that Spain might be the next eurozone country to seek a rescue.
Warning that "dark clouds" still hover over the global economy, she expressed confidence that International Monetary Fund members meeting in Washington would put up the funds needed for a "global firewall."
Worries that Spain might be the next country to seek a bailout, sparking new turmoil across the fragile eurozone, have filled markets over the past week.
On Thursday, Madrid scraped through a key bond market test but failed to quash doubts over its future finances -- the cost of its borrowing was pushed toward the 6 percent level seen as unsustainable.
"Despite very respectable Spanish auction results, mediocre US economic data and worries about the upcoming French election left European equities end the day on a rather sour note," added trader Huber.
France goes to the polls on Sunday to choose two candidates to contest a second-round presidential run-off on May 6, and Hollande is the opinion poll favourite, on course to oust right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.
Elsewhere on Friday, data revealed that business confidence in Germany beat expectations to rise again in April, underlining the resilience of Europe's biggest economy to the long-running debt crisis.
The Ifo economic institute's closely watched business climate index edged fractionally higher to 109.9 points in April from 109.8 points in March, defying analysts' expectations for a slight decline.
It is in fact the sixth month in a row that the barometer has risen and it now stands at its highest level since July 2011.
Source: AFP Global Edition