European Markets Close Higher on Gains by Banking Stocks

By Dipo Olowookere 

European stocks have moved mostly higher on Friday, with banks leading the surge after finance ministers from 19 nations finalized plans to get Greece out of its eight-year bailout program and a top lawmaker in Italy’s far-right League party reportedly said the government doesn’t want to exit the euro.

Investors also cheered flash data from IHS Markit showing that the euro area private sector expanded at a faster pace in June. The composite output index unexpectedly rose to 54.8 from 54.1 in May. The index was forecast to fall to 53.9.

While an improvement was reported from the 18-month low seen in May, the June reading represented the second-weakest expansion seen over the past 17 months.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet in Vienna today and expectations remain high that the oil cartel will reach some sort of agreement on raising oil output.

While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has jumped by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.9 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.4 percent.

Global aerospace giant Airbus has advanced after saying it is accelerating measures to reduce risks stemming from the Brexit.

BP Plc and Tullow Oil have also rallied as oil prices rose more than 1 percent ahead of the OPEC meet outcome. Homebuilders are also moving higher.

Meanwhile, automakers have continued to suffer on concerns over an intensifying trade spat between the European Union and the U.S.