In Europe, Volkswagen continued to dominate traders' minds, with the automaker seeing a sharp decline by the close, slipping 3.4 percent. Investors waited to hear who the company's next chief executive would be, following the resignation of Martin Winterkorn on Wednesday. Its stock has slumped 28 percent this week, following reports that VW used software to benefit its diesel engines' performance under U.S. test conditions.
After the close, Matthias Mueller was named as the new CEO, as expected.
The scandal continued to impact other European automakers on Friday.
German carmaker BMW saw shares finish up 4.2 percent, bouncing back from Thursday when a report in magazine Auto Bild said that the company could also be involved in emissions manipulation. The publication later backtracked on its claim and BMW denied any wrongdoing.
On Friday, Renault, Daimler and Fiat Chrysler all finished sharply higher, while Porsche (owned by VW) closed 3.2 percent lower.