(REUTERS) - European shares rose on Thursday recovering around half of the previous session's sharp falls after a Spanish bond auction met good demand and U.S. jobless claims and manufacturing data showed signs of economic improvement in the U.S.

We have some respite through a good auction and of course the U.S. data has been reasonably supportive, Richard Batty, strategist at Standard Life Investments, part of the Standard Life Group, which administers $303.32 billion of assets, said.

But we still do not have a policy roadmap in place which enables Europe to avoid a slowdown and get back on track. We have not changed our asset allocation around and are underweight European equities.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares provisionally closed up 1.1 percent at 963.14 points after falling 2.1 percent in the previous session.

On Thursday, London's FTSE closed up 34 points to 5,401, Germany's DAX rose 55 points to 5,731, and France's CAC 40 finished 23 points higher to 2,999.

Old Mutual was the biggest gainer and most actively traded stock in Europe, up 11.7 percent in volume more than twice its 90-day daily average, after the insurer said it would sell its non-core Nordic business to Skandia Liv, a move which would help it boost returns to shareholders.