Europe Markets

Europe ends mostly higher on last trading day in July

Europe ends mostly higher on last trading day in July

European equities closed higher on Friday after a choppy end to trading in July, as investors eyed key earnings and data from the U.S., ongoing volatility in Chinese equities and slipping commodity prices.

The pan-European STOXX 600 provisionally closed flat, after moving between gains and losses throughout the day.

Britain's FTSE 100 ended around 0.5 percent higher in the afternoon, while the German DAX closed around 0.4 percent higher, while the French CAC was the main out-performer, finishing 0.7 percent higher.

Read MoreChoppy July punishes China, commodities and EM

French earnings in focus

Earnings continued in full swing on Friday as a number of big companies reported results.

Shares in Airbus jumped to the top of the CAC, up as much as 4.4 percent, before closing around 3.5 percent higher, after it reported a rise in first-half core operating profit and revenue driven by strong uptake of helicopters and passenger jets.

However, the plane-maker also reported a further charge because of development delays in its new A400M, caused by a fatal crash in May.

BNP Paribas, finished around 2.6 percent higher after the French lender reported better-than-expected profit on Friday, as the strong dollar gave its earnings a boost.

Also in France, supermarket group Carrefour ended 0.9 percent higher, reversing earlier losses after it said its recurring operating profit rose 2.6 percent to 726 million euros in the first half of 2015, beating market expectations.

Meanwhile in the U.K., Lloyds Banking Group shares fell to near the bottom of the FTSE 100, down over 2.7 percent.

The part state-owned bank said that underlying profit for the first half of 2015 rose 15 percent year-on-year to £4.4 billion. However, it set aside a further £1.4 billion ($2.2 billion) to compensate customers for its mis-selling of loan insurance.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range Friday, the final day of trade for July, as investors digested soft U.S. data and energy earnings.

Factors to watch

China's Shanghai Composite index widened losses in late-afternoon trade, ending down 1.1 percent for the day and 13.4 percent for the month. However, trading was relatively calm compared to the volatility in the previous sessions.

The Chinese securities regulator is investigating the impact of automated trading on the market and had restricted 24 stock trading accounts for suspected irregularities, according to Reuters.

Focus was also on commodity prices. U.S. crude slipped for a second session to trade below $48 a barrel, as the mixed economic data from the U.S. weighed on sentiment.

In other news, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to hold an emergency party congress in September as he seeks to reassert his control over the more radical, left wing members of his party who are opposing bailout talks.