Europe Closes Higher, Boosted by Novartis, BT
European shares closed at 5-year highs on Friday, as stocks continued in risk-on mode. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index unofficially closed 0.3 percent higher at 2,781.58 points, its highest level since mid-2008 and up more than 1 percent on the week.
Gains were led by pharmaceutical giant Novartis and telecoms firm BT (British Telecom). BT closed over 12 percent higher after posting better-than-expected full-year results and increasing its dividend payments. Novartis soared after it gained U.S. regulatory approval for a drug to treat childhood arthritis.
(Read More: Soccer Wars Heat Up as BT Earnings Beat)
Meanwhile, G7 finance ministers and central bank governors from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, U.K. and the U.S. met on Friday for a two-day meeting. They are expected to discuss whether central banks can do more to encourage the fragile global recovery.
(Read More: IMF and UK Treasury Go Head-to-Head Over Austerity)