A bullish German market
Bull figures are pictured at the German stock exchange in Frankfurt

European shares rose across the board in the opening minutes of trade, scaling new five-year highs ahead of a meeting of the Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors in the UK.

The UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.2% in early deals. France's CAC 40 was up 0.2% and Germany's DAX rose 0.2%. Spain's IBEX gained 0.3%, while Italy's FTSE MIB climbed 0.4%

In Europe, investors will be tracking developments at the G7 meeting. The two-day event is focused on improving the role of central banks in boosting the limping global economy. Both industry and the political class have been concerned about how central bank stimulus packages are slowing down the eurozone economy.

Investors will also keep an eye on US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech, looking for hints on future monetary policy, while the US treasury will be putting out its federal budget balance numbers.

Meanwhile, in Italy, the treasury hopes to sell €7bn in 12-month bills in a bond auction. The government will also release industrial production figures for March, which will be viewed with interest.

Investors will track Canadian employment change and unemployment rates, annual Mexican industrial production figures, Norwegian core inflation and monthly CPI, Danish CPI and annual industrial production numbers coming out of India.

Companies due to report earnings include UK-based airlines group IAG, telecoms firm BT, Anglo-Swiss miner Xstrata, Italian banks Unicredit and Assicurazioni Generali and steel-maker Arcelor Mittal

Earlier, Asian markets showed mixed performance on a day when Japanese stocks rallied to a five-and-a-half year high. Japanese stocks soared after the US dollar breached the symbolic 100-yen mark, while Asian stocks suffered as global equities dropped overnight.

Japanese exporters made significant gains on expectations that a weaker yen would boost their competitive advantage overseas and increase their repatriated profits.

The US dollar received a boost after weekly data showed that initial jobless claims in the US fell to a five-year low. This followed the previous week's better-than-expected monthly nonfarm payrolls report for April. The resultant hectic dollar buying was fuelled by sentiments that the US economy was getting back on track.