Europe Markets

Europe markets close mixed, South Africa-exposed stocks slump; Stoxx 600 up 5% for the year


European markets closed mixed Friday as investors digested the new EU guidelines to a potential Brexit deal and reacted to a cabinet reshuffle in South Africa.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 closed up 0.18 percent, recording a 5.5 percent increase for the quarter. Travel & Leisure and Retail were among the best performers, up 1.44 percent and 0.77 percent respectively.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.63 percent, the German DAX rose 0.46 percent and the French CAC was up 0.65 percent.

Meanwhile, Basic resources slumped more than 1.4 percent on Friday as South Africa's rand and government bonds both fell after President Jacob Zuma sacked Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in a cabinet reshuffle overnight. Mining giants BHP Billiton and Antofagasta slipped more than 2 percent.

Old Mutual was among the worst performers as a result of its high exposure to trade in South Africa. Its shares slumped more than 7 percent.

On the data front, the U.K. released its latest gross domestic product (GDP) figures which showed growth of 0.7 percent for the quarter and 1.9 percent compared to the year previous. Sterling was slightly lower against the dollar on the news.

The European Union published its draft of Brexit negotiating guidelines on Friday which showed the bloc is ready to discuss a potential free trade deal with Britain before the two sides have agreed on the final terms of the break-up.

Elsewehere, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson renewed pressure on the U.S.'s NATO partners on Friday to step up their contributions to the alliance's budget.

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