European stocks managed to consolidate slim gains on Friday afternoon after a heavy selloff in the previous session, while the German Dax index finished lower with a sharp drop for the insurance company Allianz.
Pimco's Gross leaves
The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index provisionally closed higher but logged a weekly loss of around 1.6 percent, its worst weekly fall since early August. Peripheral banking stocks outperformed the wider benchmarks on Friday afternoon with Italian and Spanish lenders showing some modest gains.
Piers Curran, the head trader and managing director at Amplify Trading told CNBC that its likely that the anticipation of more stimulus in the euro zone helped these stocks higher but suggested that bourses in general showed some consolidation after Thursday's sharp drop.
"There's no economic data...there's no news flow, " he said, adding that concerns over euro zone growth and a Federal Reserve rate hike has meant investors have remained risk averse this week.
The German DAX was the standout laggard pushed lower by the shares of Allianz which closed lower by around 6 percent. News that legendary bond guru Bill Gross was leaving as chief investment officer of Pimco, which Allianz owns, saw the shares turn sharply lower.
Wall Street opened higher on Friday with the major benchmarks showing slim gains during the morning session. This came after some heavy selling on Thursday which analysts put down to combination of factors. This included a story on a Russian draft law that would allow the seizure of foreign assets—a long-held fear of investors. This saw Germany's DAX close below its 200-day moving average level in the previous session.
Reports on changes in leadership at China's central bank and expectations of higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve also weighed on sentiment, reinforced by comments from Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher. Speaking on Thursday, Fisher said a rate hike could occur in the spring of 2015.
UK votes on airstrikes
In the U.K. on Friday, parliament met to authorize any British military action in Iraq to tackle militants from the Islamic State (ISIS). Prime Minister David Cameron—who has confirmed that action will only be sanctioned if a majority vote in the House of Commons is obtained—has held discussions with U.S. President Barack Obama this week about what form any British involvement might take. A vote is due in the House of Commons at some point after 5 p.m. local time.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis published its final gross domestic product data for the second-quarter of 2014, which came in at a annualized 4.6 percent. This managed to meet market expectations and was slightly higher than the previous reading which showed growth increased at an annual rate of 4.2 percent between April and June.
De La Rue plummets
Shares of De La Rue, a U.K. banknote printer and passport manufacturer, plummeted 32 percent after it warned on profit for both 2014 and 2015, blaming deteriorating trading conditions. The company is listed on the FTSE 250.
Air France-KLM fell over 2 percent on Friday as its pilots' strike entered a 12th day. The strike is reported to be costing the airline up to 20 million euros ($25 million) per day. The French government holds a 16 percent stake in Air France-KLM.
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