Europe Markets

European markets close mixed; indices record highest weekly rises in 2017; Yellen speech eyed

European markets closed mixed Friday as global investors digested recent record highs and considered the prospect of the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates.

The FTSE closed down 0.11 percent; the DAX was lower by 0.27 percent; meanwhile, the CAC was up 0.63 percent.

Italian, Spanish, French and German indices all recorded their best weeks of the year at the close of play Friday. Italy's FTSE MIB was up 5.4 percent week to date; Spain's IBEX up 4 percent; France's CAC up 3 percent; and Germany's DAX up 1.7 percent; their highest weekly shifts since December 2016.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.1 percent lower, with most sectors trading in negative territory. However banking stocks recorded their best week to date, rising 4 percent since Monday.

Media stocks, by contrast, were the worst performers of the day, closing 2.04 percent down on earnings news. WPP, the world's largest ad firm, closed down 7.9 percent after announcing a "conservative" outlook for 2017.

However, bottom of the European benchmark Friday was the British industrial laundry services company Berendsen, down by more than 11 percent, after disappointing earnings results.

Banking stocks closed the day at the top of the European benchmark, up 1.18 percent buoyed by the prospect of the chair of the Fed Janet Yellen's address after markets close. Recent comments from Fed members have suggested that a March rate hike is a possibility, meaning a further move away from the accommodative policy of recent years.

Elsewhere, digital security firm Gemalto topped regional benchmarks at the end of Friday after presenting its latest results. It closed up 7.7 percent. Retailer WH Smith also jumped in Friday trading and closed up 3.3 percent after an analyst upgrade from Barclays.

In terms of data, the euro zone composite PMI for February was unchanged at 56.0, up from 54.4 in January. However, retail sales data for the bloc showed a decline of 0.1 percent on the month.

U.S. markets were trading lower Friday midday, also in anticipation of the Fed's remarks.

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