Europe Markets

Europe ends higher, boosted by dovish central banks

Europe ends higher, boosted by dovish central banks

European stocks finished higher on Friday, after global stocks and oil prices rose following dovish minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, easing investor interest rate fears.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index pared gains up to end 0.3 percent higher, ending around 4.2 percent on the week marking Europe's biggest weekly gain since January.

Glencore jumps

London's FTSE 100 closed up 0.7 percent while the other major European bourses, the French CAC and the German DAX ended up around 0.5 and 1 percent respectively.

Topping indices was London-listed miner and commodity trading group Glencore which closed up 7 percent after the embattled miner said it was going to cut 500,000 tons of zinc production in a bid to withstand lower commodity prices.

The news lifted metals miner Boliden over 12 percent, while Arcelormittal ended around 6 percent higher, after JPMorgan raised its outlook on the stock from "neutral" to "overweight". Anglo American and Fresnillo were also boosting the basic resources sector, with shares up 7.5 and 4.3 percent respectively.

In the oil and gas space, London-listed Petrofac closed nearly 10 percent higher after it terminated a contract with Shanghai Zhenhua Industries Company to build a new offshore services vessel after "issues with ZPMC's performance".

U.S. stocks traded in a range Friday as investors wrapped up a solid week of gains, after the key September Fed meeting minutes and ahead of earnings season.

Oil markets continue to be in focus for investors too, with U.S. crude futures hitting $50 a barrel for the first time in July late Thursday after a report from the PIRA Energy Group said it expected crude prices to rise to $70 per barrel by the end of 2016.

Brent fell back from earlier highs on Friday, and traded around $52.62 per barrel while U.S. crude slipped below $50 to trade around $49.60. The bounce in the oil price helped push the sector higher with the likes of Tullow Oil, Seadrill and Statoil all trading in the green.

Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission's vice president.
Lower oil prices, weaker euro to boost EU growth

In other individual stocks news, shares of scandal-hit carmaker Volkswagen closed around 3 percent higher on Friday after the automaker's U.S. chief executive told lawmakers that cheating on emissions with the use of software in diesel cars was not a corporate decision, but something that "individuals did" on Thursday.

Allianz stock ended up 0.8 percent Friday, despite billionaire bond-investor Bill Gross launching a lawsuit against his former employer, Pacific Investment Management Co (PIMCO) and its parent, Allianz, for $200 million, for breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, among other causes of action.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meeting in Lima, Peru this weekend is also in focus for markets. Ahead of the meeting open on Friday, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde on Thursday urged global policymakers to support economic growth while also tackling financial risks stemming from the provision of easy money amid a "rapidly changing and uncertain world."