Europe Markets

Europe closes flat as Greece gets short-term aid

Europe closes flat; Greece gets short-term aid

European equities finished around the flatline on Friday, after the European Council approved a 7.16 billion euro ($7.7 billion) short-term loan to Greece. German lawmakers also gave the green light to negotiations over Greece's much-needed third bailout.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed flat, despite starting the session marginally higher. However, on the week, the Stoxx 600 was up 4.3 percent, helped by positive news surrounding Greece.

Both Britain's benchmark FTSE 100 index and the German DAX ended the day over 0.3 percent lower. Most bourses ended in the red, although France's CAC index wobbled throughout the day, closing nearly 0.1 percent higher.

U.S. stocks traded mixed on Friday, with the Nasdaq trying for new highs, as investors digested more earnings and data.

Greek lifeline

Earlier on Friday, the German parliament voted in favor of talks on Greece's third bailout which should pave the way for the financial aid to be released. Meanwhile, the European Council approved a 7.16 billion euro ($7.7 billion) short-term loan to Greece under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM).

On Thursday, the ECB raised its emergency liquidity assistance for Greek banks. Speaking at the ECB's monthly press conference Thursday, central bank president, Mario Draghi, confirmed that the ECB would increase its funding to Greek banks by 900 million euros ($978 million).

Earnings in focus

Earnings season continued in full flow on Friday, with some notably strong performers.

Mobile telecom equipment maker Ericsson reported second-quarter earnings that topped market expectations. At points, shares in the company were up over 4.5 percent, before paring gains to close around 3.4 percent higher.

One of the Stoxx 600's top performers, Norwegian publishing firm Schibsted, closed up 7.4 percent after it published second-quarter earnings above expectations.

Fragrance maker Givaudan saw a 4 percent pop in its shares after it reported an 11 percent rise in net profit in the first half of 2015 compared to the same time last year.

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Shares in home appliance maker Electrolux, which posted second-quarter earnings that beat market expectations, reversed gains in the afternoon to trade in the red, closing down 0.2 percent.

General Electric said it had offered concessions to European Union regulators in its 12.4-billion euro ($13.49 billion) attempt to take over Alstom's power unit. Shares in Alstom finished just over 0.3 percent lower.

Shares in Finnish electricity firm Fortum, meanwhile, plummeted near the bottom of indexes, ending the day around 6.9 percent lower after the company said second-quarter operating profit had declined.

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