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Europe ends lower after weak US data, euro strength

European equities finished lower, having fluctuated for much of the session on Friday following weak U.S. data and strength in the euro.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index moved between losses and gains for much of the day. It fell into negative territory in late afternoon trade, ending around 0.4 percent lower, after the University of Michigan's U.S. consumer sentiment report came in at 88.6, the lowest in 7 months.

German stocks ended over 1 percent lower after the data, while the French CAC finished around 0.7 percent lower. The oil and gas sector also posted heavy losses as oil prices slumped.

Gains in the euro against the dollar, with the single currency climbing to trade over $1.14 also weighed on stocks.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
FTSE
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DAX
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CAC
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IBEX 35
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Shares of SABMiller ended higher by around 0.7 percent, after an announcement that the brewery has bought the London-based craft beer producer Meantime.

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Steel producers like Outokumpu and Arcelormittal continued to push higher on Friday after favorable legislation from the European Union this week.

Aside from individual stocks, sentiment earlier on Friday received a boost from Mario Draghi, after the head of the European Central Bank said on Thursday that the central bank would "implement in full" its bond-buying program, which would stay in place "as long as needed."

"While we have already seen a substantial effect of our measures on asset prices and economic confidence, what ultimately matters is that we see an equivalent effect on investment, consumption and inflation," Draghi said, according to the text of a speech delivered in Washington.

"To that effect, we will implement in full our purchase program as announced and, in any case, until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation."

U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range on Friday, following a record close on the S&P 500, as investors eyed lower bond yields and the lower dollar, amid data releases. The greenback index is on track for its fifth-straight week of declines.

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