European stocks close higher after Brexit breakthrough; banks up 2%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.78 percent, with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory
  • Europe's banking index led the gains Friday, up more than 2 percent after global regulators signed a long-awaited agreement in the previous session
  • The U.K. and European Union finally agreed upon three particular issues that had impeded negotiations, paving the way for the next phase of discussions

European stocks closed higher on Friday, as investors reacted to progress in Brexit negotiations and a long-sought deal regarding global banking regulations.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up almost 0.8 percent, with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Europe's banking index led the gains on Friday morning, up more than 2 percent after global regulators signed a long-awaited agreement in the previous session. The deal represents the last piece of the Basel III puzzle and is a compromise between U.S. and European regulators over capital levels and measurements of risk in the industry. ABN AMRO and Danske Bank led the sector, each trading more than 4 percent higher on the news.

Meanwhile, basic resources stocks — with their heavy exposure to China — were trading up more than 1 percent. A robust rebound in Beijing's iron ore and copper imports appeared to stem a recent downturn in commodity prices. ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, was up 1 percent.

At the bottom of the benchmark was South African retailer Steinhoff, which plunged 20 percent on Friday after Moody's downgraded the stock by four ratings to "junk" status. The company has lost more than 80 percent of its value — wiping more than $12 billion off its market value — since it revealed accounting irregularities and parted ways with its chief executive, Reuters reported.

On Wall Street, stocks opened higher following the release of a stronger-than-expected jobs report.

Brexit breakthrough

Brexit continues to keep investors on their toes with the U.K. and European Union finally agreeing upon three particular issues that had impeded negotiations, paving the way for the next phase of discussions. Sterling rose more than half a percent to hit a six-month high against the euro after the announcement.

Speaking of politics, news Stateside is expected to shake up sentiment, whether that be related to Russia relations, tax reforms or geopolitics. In the latest from the country, Congress moved rapidly to send President Donald Trump a short-term funding bill on Thursday, in order to prevent a government shutdown from happening this weekend.

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—CNBC's Silvia Amaro contributed to this report