Europe Markets

Europe ends on a negative note as earnings disappoint; miners sink 2%, RBS falls 4.5%

European bourses ended Friday's session on a negative note, as weakness in the U.S., a fall in commodities and a slew of underwhelming earnings reports weighed on investor sentiment.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished 0.76 percent lower, with the majority of sectors showing red by the market close. On the week however, the STOXX 600 closed only 0.06 percent down.

France's CAC 40 and the German DAX both fell sharply, closing 0.94 and 1.2 percent down on Friday, while the FTSE 100 slipped 0.38 percent.

Basic resources dragged down sentiment on Friday, sinking 2 percent down. Mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton fell around 3 percent each, with other miners also under-performing by the close. Gold however hit a three and a half month high during Friday's trade.

Sticking with commodities, oil contractor Saipem missed fourth-quarter profit expectations in its earnings report and subsequently sank to the bottom of the STOXX 600, ending down 6.8 percent.

Brent and U.S. crude showed signs of weakness, trading at $56.09 and $54.04 at the market close, as data revealed that U.S. crude inventories had risen for the seventh consecutive week.

Difficult to announce this sort of loss: RBS CFO

The latest from earnings season showed that BASF, the world's largest chemicals group in terms of sales, reported a 6 percent fall in earnings before tax in 2016. Shares slipped almost 3 percent.

Meanwhile, French digital entertainment conglomerate Vivendi fell almost 4 percent after disappointing analysts with its latest figures. The group's chairman Vincent Bollore is reportedly under investigation by Milan prosecutors for alleged market manipulation regarding the group's stake building in Italian broadcaster Mediaset, Reuters reported citing an unnamed source.

Sitting near the bottom of Europe's banking sector was the U.K. lender RBS, who announced a net loss of $8.7 billion for 2016 — its ninth straight year without a profit. Shares tumbled 4.5 percent.

However all was not lost on the earnings front, with Pearson and Ingenico Group ending sharply higher after earnings came in line or above expectations.

On the data front, French consumer confidence held at a more than nine-year high in February for the second month in a row, Reuters reported, citing data from the official INSEE statistics agency.

Overseas, U.S. markets showed signs of weakness, around the time European bourses closed, with U.S. equities taking a breather from their most recent run at record levels.

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