Europe Markets

Europe markets close sharply higher; banks lead

Europe markets close sharply higher

European shares ended the day sharply higher on Friday, after the Bank of England outlined tougher leverage rules for banks, and the Bank of Japan expanded its monetary base target.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed 1.6 percent higher at 1,349.38. Both the French CAC and the German DAX ended the day around 2.2 percent higher.

Overall, it has been a good week for European equities, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 and French CAC up more than 2 percent on the week, and the German DAX up over 3 percent. However, all three indexes closed lower on the month.

Bank stocks outperformed on Friday, after the Bank of England announced plans that could mean lenders have to hold more capital to guard again shocks. The rules proved less strict than anticipated, which boosted U.K. banks in particular.

Stock of both Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) gained sharply, closing up around 8 percent higher and 6 percent higher respectively.

Read MoreBank of England sets out tougher leverage rules for banks

Meanwhile, France's largest bank, BNP Paribas closed around 3.4 percent higher after it reported that third-quarter net income rose 11 percent. Gains in its fixed income and international retail operations offset a lackluster economic environment in its core European markets.

BNP Paribas's strong results helped boost other French financials, with Credit Agricole ending up around 1.7 percent and AXA closing up around 2.7 percent.

However, trade in Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena was suspended again after its shares fell by 2.8 percent. Shares in rival Banca Crige were also suspended from trading, after a 2.4 percent drop. Both banks are among the nine Italian lenders that failed the European Central Bank' stress tests and investors are fretting about how they will fill their capital gaps.

Over in Asia, the Bank of Japan gave markets across the globe a boost when it announced a surprise ramp up of stimulus measures. Japanese shares outperformed their Asian peers on Friday, with the Nikkei index spiking as much as 5 percent.

Japan expands QE: Two strategies

Global market sentiment was also supported by U.S.growth data on Thursday, which showed that third-quarter GDP grew at a 3.5 percent annual rate, beating expectations for a 3 percent rise.

Closer to home, official data on Friday showed euro zone inflation ticked up slightly in October, with consumer prices gaining 0.4 percent. The figure met analyst expectations and marked a slight rise from September's 0.3 percent gain. However, it remained well below the European Central Bank's target of around 2.0 percent.