Europe ends higher after BoJ decision; earnings eyed

European equities closed sharply higher on Friday after the Bank of Japan surprised global markets by adopting negative interest rates for the first time.

The pan-European STOXX 600 finished up 2.2 percent provisionally. On the week it closed up 1.2 percent provisionally.

London's FTSE 100 led the way, ending up 2.6 percent on the day. France's CAC and Germany's DAX closed up 2.2 and 1.6 percent higher, respectively.


Oil prices rose again on Friday before paring gains, spurred higher by hopes of a deal among oil-producing countries to tackle a growing supply glut.

When European stocks closed, Brent crude oil was trading at around $34.20 per barrel, while U.S. crude hovered at a little over $33.

Oil and gas stocks got a boost from the price movement, with Tullow Oil up around 5 percent.

In Asia, the Bank of Japan decided to extend its monetary stimulus program with negative interest rates. The central bank said it would apply a rate of minus-0.1 percent to excess reserves that financial institutions placed with it from February 16.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 index surged as much as 3.5 percent on the news, with before closing up 2.8 percent.

"Equity markets are risk-on again, happy to see another major central bank join the negative interest rate party, helping offset what looks to have been a premature Fed hike last month and maintaining faith in policy staying lower and looser for longer," Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said in a note.

In the U.S., economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter to an annualized rate of 0.7 percent, according to official data out on Friday. This was lower than the 2 percent recorded in the third quarter, but in line with analysts' forecasts.

U.S. stocks traded higher on Friday after the GDP data and in light of the Bank of Japan news.

Euro zone banks rally

Euro zone banks were on investors' radar today. Italian lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena posted its first annual profit in five years thanks to a one-off accounting gain related to a controversial derivative trade.

Shares in BMPS fluctuated on Friday, before closing up over 1 percent.

Shares in other Italian banks, which have been under intense pressure recently over concerns about their non-performing loan portfolio, were pulled higher thanks to BMPS' results.

Banco Popolare finished up over 9 percent, while Intesa Sanpaolo ended over 4 percent up.

In Spain, Caixabank posted a 182 million euro ($198.53 million) fourth-quarter net loss due to a writedown of its stake in oil major Repsol. Shares in the lender still closed up 3.8 percent.

Banco de Sabadell posted a 91 percent rise in full-year net profit, sending shares near the top of the STOXX 600, up 12 percent.

Murdoch son back at helm of Sky

Sky shares were pushed almost 4 percent up after the European pay-TV group said that James Murdoch would return as the chairman of the company after stepping down in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal in 2012. Sky reported a better-than-expected rise in profit for the first half of the year.

French outdoor advertising company JC Decaux is up over 6 percent after it reported a 17.2 percent rise in fourth quarter adjusted revenue.

Shares in Spain's Gamesa surged over 18.5 percent on a report that Siemens was mulling a takeover bid.