Europe Markets

Europe closes at 3-month highs on ECB; up 3.3% for week

European stock markets closed the session at three-month highs on Friday afternoon with traders reacting to comments from central bankers in the euro zone and the U.S.

ECB dovish, Fed hawkish

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed provisionally higher at 0.22 percent completed its best week for a month. The FTSEurofirst 300 Index, meanwhile, finished near at its highest levels since August. The German DAX traded above its 200-day level of 11,092.40 on Friday, and closed above that level for the first time since August 13.

The Dax was up around 3.9 percent for the week and tracked its best week since the week ending October 23 when the DAX gained 6.83 percent. France's CAC 40 finished up around 2.24 percent for the week and tracked its best week since the week ending October 23 when it gained 4.7 percent.

Traders are coming to terms with the possibility that the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest rates in December. But in Europe, policymakers are talking about further easing measures. The ECB's chief economist, Peter Praet, signaled on Thursday that further stimulus measures could be possible, while the central bank's president Mario Draghi struck a dovish tone in a speech he delivered on Friday morning.

Mali hostage situation

Meanwhile, in Mali, special forces have stormed a luxury hotel captured by gunmen in the capital Bamako Friday in a bid to release up to 170 hostages, some of them believed to be American, a senior police source and witnesses told Reuters.

VW shares up

In other news, Swedish mining equipment maker Atlas Copco announced that it would buy the vacuum business of Swiss firm OC Oerlikon for 486 million euros ($520 million). Shares of OC Oerlikon closed higher by 6 percent.

In Europe, embattled carmaker Volkswagen said it was cutting its capital expenditure next year but was ramping up investment in alternative technologies. Shares of the firm finished up 2.4 percent.

Oil names hit

The oil and gas sector was in focus for investors. Italian oil firm Eni sold its remaining 4 percent stake in Portugal's Galp for $348 million sending shares over 5 percent lower.

London-listed Tullow Oil finished sharply lower after Goldman Sachs removed the stock from its "focus list". Other names in the sector including Repsol and Petrofac were also lower. The moves also come as the price of Brent Crude rose on Friday.