European stocks advanced, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index extending its weekly gain, as automakers jumped.

The Stoxx 600 added 0.2 percent to 396.03 at 8:04 a.m. in London. Shares closed little changed yesterday, trimming gains after data showed U.S. retail sales in February unexpectedly fell for a third month. A gauge of auto-related stocks posted the biggest gain of the 19 industry groups on the equity gauge today.

The Stoxx 600 is heading for a weekly rise of 0.5 percent, as the weaker euro boosts exporters, outweighing investor concern that the Federal Reserve may signal earlier rate increases at its meeting next week.

Shares also gained as euro-area central banks bought German, Belgian, French, Italian and Spanish bonds this week, sending borrowing costs across Europe to record lows. The purchases are part of the European Central Bank’s asset-buying program, known as quantitative easing.

Source : Bloomberg