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Europe ends slightly higher after China data boosts commodities; Provident jumps 12.4%

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.29 percent, bouncing back from a dip it had during afternoon trade
  • Europe's basic resources index was the top sectoral gainer Friday, closing up more than 2.5 percent, on the back of robust imports data in China
  • Stoxx 600 biggest movers: Provident up 12.42 percent, while GKN slips 9.86 percent

European stocks finished Friday's session mostly higher, with a strong uptick in commodities helping prop up sentiment on the final trading day of the week.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.29 percent, bouncing back from a dip during afternoon trade. On the week, the Stoxx 600 closed up 0.5 percent.

Looking to major bourses, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 0.28 percent, while France's CAC 40 ended down 0.17 percent. Germany's DAX however rose 0.07 percent.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

Sectors finished predominantly in positive territory, with the exception of autos, banks and health care. Europe's basic resources index meanwhile shot up 2.68 percent, on the back of strong imports data in China and a price rise in nickel.

In September, China exports rose 8.1 percent—in dollar terms—compared to a year ago, while imports rose 18.7 percent, according to Reuters. The imports figure beat economist estimates. The world's largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal topped the European sector, soaring 7.37 percent.

Elsewhere in commodities, oil prices rose almost 1.5 percent each by Europe's close, boosted by the China data and tensions rising in the Middle East. In stocks, Tullow Oil rose 3.2 percent and OMV jumped 7.17 percent.

Looking at individual stocks, Provident skyrocketed to the top of the European benchmark as the beleaguered British subprime lender announced a recovery plan for its home credit unit. The firm is currently struggling with a staff shortage and remains on course to post a loss of up to £120 million ($159 million) in 2017. Shares finished up 12.42 percent on Friday.

The world's third-largest maker of crop chemicals, BASF, announced Friday that it had agreed to buy Bayer's seed and herbicide business for 5.9 billion euros ($7 billion). Bayer has been attempting to persuade competition authorities to approve its planned $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto. Bayer's shares finished in the black.

Meanwhile, GKN tumbled 9.86 percent, after the British engineering firm said "disappointing" trading in aerospace in the third quarter and two external claims would result in weaker-than-anticipated full-year profits in 2017.

What's ahead for the EU?

U.K. investors will be monitoring the ongoing stalemate between British officials and their European counterparts after the fifth round of Brexit talks finished this week. Speaking on Thursday, the European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there is a "disturbing deadlock" over the amount the Britain should pay before it leaves the bloc.

The lack of progress means that discussion over a future trade agreement has been postponed, likely until the European Council meets in December. On Friday, the British pound bounced back slightly in trade.

In Washington D.C., a convening of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors continues, with European Central Bank (ECB) board members speaking. On Friday, ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio said in a presentation that even if the EU has created over 7 million jobs since the start of its economic recovery, broad measures of unemployment in the region remain high, Reuters reported.

Looking to the U.S., stocks traded higher around the Europe close as Wall Street digested the latest set of corporate earnings.