- The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally up around 0.3%, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
- Market focus is largely attuned to trade developments, with the U.S. and China expected to hold high-level talks over the coming weeks.
- Washington and Beijing have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of one another's goods since the start of 2018.
European stocks closed slightly higher Friday, as stimulus measures by global central banks eased fears about slowing economic growth.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally up around 0.3%, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
Looking at individual stocks, Denmark's third-largest bank Jyske Bank soared to the top of the European benchmark after announcing it would lower negative interest rates even further for clients depositing over $111,100 in their bank accounts. The move follows interest rate cuts from both the European and Danish central banks. Shares of the firm rose over 5%.
France's Alten was another standout gainer. The IT services and consulting company reported a better-than-expected operating margin in the first six months of the year, prompting SocGen to raise its stock recommendation to "buy" from "hold." Shares of the Paris-listed stock jumped 4% on the news.
Meanwhile, Investec slumped to the bottom of the index after issuing a profit warning. The Anglo-South African financial services firm said first-half profit would be lower than a year earlier due to a rise in restructuring costs. Global trade tensions and Brexit uncertainty have also weighed on the company. Investec shares sank over 8%.
China cut a key lending rate for the second consecutive month on Friday, following in the footsteps of the European Central Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Easier monetary policy has generally supported equities, but most of the interest rate cuts were already priced in and worries about a possible global downturn still linger.
On Wall Street, stocks were mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up around 30 points and S&P 500 also slightly positive, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped into negative territory.
Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments after deputy trade negotiators from the U.S. and China resumed face-to-face talks for the first time in almost two months.
The South China Morning Post reported Thursday that known China hawk and Trump advisor Michael Pillsbury warned the U.S. is ready to escalate the trade war if a deal isn't struck soon, citing an interview in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Hu Xijin — editor-in-chief of Chinese state media Global Times — tweeted overnight that China is "not as anxious to reach a deal as the U.S. side thought."
Those developments come as the U.S. and China are expected to hold high-level trade negotiations over the coming weeks.
Washington and Beijing have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of one another's goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.
In the U.K., investors are likely to closely monitor an expected ruling from the Supreme Court. A judgment is expected sometime next week, with market participants eager to understand the potential ramifications for Brexit.
The Supreme Court's 11 judges, or justices, have been tasked on ruling whether the government acted lawfully in suspending parliament following a legal challenge brought by opposition lawmakers.
— CNBC's Eustance Huang contributed to this report.