European markets finished slightly up on Friday afternoon, after wobbling around the flat line throughout the day. British engineering firm Rolls Royce was among the top FTSE 100 gainers following media reports it is close to signing a key deal with Airbus.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed provisionally up 0.1 percent at 1,371.63 points. The U.K's FTSE 100 closed just higher, up around 0.4 percent, and the German Dax ended the day provisionally 0.1 percent up. France's Cac, meanwhile, closed flat.
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In Brussels, European Union (EU) leaders nominated Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg as the next European Commission President. This decision was expected, but has proved something of a flash point for U.K. disenchantment with the EU, with British Prime Minister David Cameron firmly opposed to Juncker's appointment.
Data released on Friday confirmed that France's economy was posted no growth in the first quarter of 2014. In the U.K., the national statistics office confirmed that Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.8 percent in the first quarter.
Earlier in the day, research body GfK had reported that British consumer confidence reached its highest since March 2005 this month, adding to signs the economy is recovering.
In the U.S., stocks wobbled on Friday, with the Dow industrials and S&P 500 on track for weekly losses, after DuPont trimmed its earnings forecast, leading a retreat in the materials sector. Investors were little moved by a report that had consumer sentiment climbing in June, with the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's index on consumer sentiment rising to 82.5, up from 81.9 in May.
Meanwhile, Asian equity markets declined on Friday following hawkish comments from a U.S. Federal Reserve official the previous day. Speaking in a televised interview on Thursday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard suggested interest rates could rise sooner than expected, leading Wall Street shares to end in the red overnight.
In other news, The New York Times reported that BNP Paribas is set to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay an $8.9 billion fine to the U.S. government. This follows a widespread investigation into the French bank for transferring billions of dollars to countries blacklisted by the U.S.
Major brokers including Deutsche Bank, RBC and ITG have begun to sever their ties to the dark pool operated by Barclays PLC, Dow Jones reported on Thursday. It follows fraud charges by the New York authorities.
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