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European shares close higher after US data; brush off Fed, Ukraine

European markets closed higher on Friday, capping off a busy week which saw investors absorb positive U.S. data and cast aside concerns about the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and heightened tensions between Russia and the West.

The FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed 0.3 percent higher at 1,309.56 points. This marked its biggest weekly gain in a month, as investors shrugged off concerns about possible military conflict in Crimea that have dominated markets over the past few weeks.

Shares on the continent also overcame a mid-week slide after the latest announcements from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Russian stock market closed lower by 1 percent on Friday, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama signed an order to impose sanctions on more segments of Russia's economy in response to Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

The European Union, meanwhile, also expanded its list of people targeted with sanctions and asked the European Commission to prepare an assessment of the potential impact of broad economic sanctions against Russia.

In retaliation, Russia imposed entry bans on nine U.S. lawmakers and officials.

(Read more: Sanctions and S&P may spoil Russia's Crimean party)

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation to complete the process of absorbing Crimea into the Russian federation, following a Crimean referendum on the issue.

The week in the US

U.S. stocks mostly rose on Friday, pushing the S&P 500 to an intraday record, as investors contemplated recent economic reports and the Federal Reserve's signal that its benchmark interest rate could be raised sooner than previously thought.

In remarks released Friday, Minneapolis Fed Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota said the central bank should have vowed to keep rates near zero until unemployment falls below 5.5 percent, so long as inflation and financial stability risks are contained. Kocherlakota was the lone dissenter to the Fed's policy decision on Wednesday.

Wall Street was also cheered by news on Thursday that 29 out of 30 major U.S. banks have enough capital to cope with another recession, according to the Fed's stress tests.

(Read more: Fitch Ratings takes US off negative ratings watch)

FTSE higher

Back in Europe, the FTSE 100 brought to an end three-straight weeks of losses, closing the week up 0.56 percent. Mining stocks responded well to hopes that China, the world's top metals consumer, would take more steps to stimulate its economy. Meanwhile, authorities in China gave indications they were considering moves to support slowing economic growth.

Friday's stocks news

Shares in Russia's non-state natural gas firm Novatek fell 8.6 percent on Friday after the U.S. announced further sanctions against Russian officials and businessmen. The company is partly owned by Gennady Timichenko, one of the wealthy businessmen sanctioned over suspected links with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(Read more: EU adds 12 names to Russia sanctions, mulls further steps)

Oil major BP is another company to be drawn into the debate over Russia's takeover of Crimea. The former chief financial officer of oil company Yukos, Bruce Misamore, called for the delisting of Moscow-based oil company Rosneft - in which BP has a 20 percent stake - from the London Stock Exchange. Shares in the British group were closed 0.1 percent higher after the news.

Luxury goods makers Burberry was off 2.65 percent in afternoon trading after Bank of America cut its rating on the stock to neutral.

Discount airline Ryanair's shares closed higher by around 2.9 percent after ratings agency Standard & Poor's boosted it rating to BBB rating, meaning the group is now investment grade. S&P upgraded Ryanair shortly after the airline announced it will increase the number of flights from Dublin airport.

Bouygues re-opened the battle to buy France's second biggest telecoms provider SFR late on Thursday with a new offer, upping the cash portion of its bid, shares still closed the day lower by 2.6 percent.

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