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European stocks surge 2.3%; Volkswagen scandal, Fed in focus

European stocks opened sharply higher on Friday as concerns over the health of the global economy dimmed slightly after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested the central bank is still on course to raise interest rates this year.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was 2.3 percent higher at the open.

London's FTSE 100 was up over 1.8 percent, the German DAX rose 2.2 percent and the French CAC saw a 2.4 percent pop.

Further clarity on the direction of U.S. monetary policy prompted Asian stocks to lose steam overnight, continuing a lackluster lead from Wall Street Thursday.

In a speech on Thursday, Yellen said that an interest-rate hike "sometime later this year" would likely be appropriate, though the decision hinges on economic data. She was speaking at the University of Massachusetts.

Volkswagen shares were up around 3 percent ahead...