Most European markets rose Friday as investor sentiment turned positive on hope that China would announce stimulus measures after it reported that its economy continued to weaken.

The German DAX 30 index rose 0.28 percent or 18.21 points to 6437.56. Shares of Cap Gemini SA climbed 0.92 percent and shares of Commerzbank AG advanced 0.73 percent.

The French CAC 40 index advanced 0.23 percent or 7.11 points to 3142.29. Shares of Cap Gemini SA climbed 0.99 percent and those of BHP Billiton PLC rose 0.83 percent.

London's FTSE 100 index rose 0.42 percent or 23.35 points to 5631.60. Shares of Rio Tinto PLC rose 1.37 percent and those of BHP Billiton PLC were up 1.34 percent.

Spain's IBEX 35 fell 0.60 percent or 39.90 points to 6590.20. Shares of Banco Santander SA fell 2.01 percent and shares of Inditex SA dropped 0.21 percent.

China's gross domestic product growth slowed down in the second quarter to the lowest rate in three years. The data released by the National Bureau of Statistics reveal that China's gross domestic product grew at 7.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year. China's GDP growth was 8.1 percent in the first quarter.

Market players are expecting that China will take monetary easing steps to rejuvenate the weakening economy and regain the growth momentum. Investors feel that bold measures, including easing in the monetary policy, will be a much-needed thrust to boost liquidity in the financial system.

However, the optimism can be short-lived as the worry about the debt burden faced by the euro zone persists. In a report that could affect the markets, Moody's Investors Service cut the Italian government's bond rating to Baa2 down from A3. The reasons for the downgrade, it says, are the deterioration of the economic prospects in Italy and its inability in implementing reforms.