The European markets ended Friday's session in positive territory. Concerns over a possible Greek exit from the Eurozone have persisted and Greece will likely remain in focus until the country's second round of elections is held on June 17th. Spain was also in the spotlight on the news that shares of Bankia had been halted ahead of the release of the details of its rescue plan.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti stated that Italy can help persuade Germany to accept joint euro-area bonds, as a majority of leaders at EU summit backed them. German Chancellor Angela Merkel reinforced her opposition to the idea of issuing eurobonds at Wednesday's summit in Brussels.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Thursday said the European integration now needs a "bold leap of political imagination" in order to survive. The sovereign debt crisis has exposed serious weaknesses in the institutional framework, he said in a speech in Rome. In this context, the difficulties in finding common solutions are having a negative impact on market valuations.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks increased by 0.31 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, gained 0.27 percent.
The DAX of Germany climbed by 0.38 percent and the CAC 40 of France advanced by 0.32 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. finished up by 0.03 percent and the SMI of Switzerland rose by 0.22 percent.
In Frankfurt, Siemens increased by 2.50 percent. Deutsche Bank upgraded its rating on the stock to "Buy" from "Hold."
RWE finished higher by 1.67 percent. HSBC upgraded the stock to "Neutral" from "Underweight."
Vossloh climbed by 1.20 percent, after Berenberg raised its rating on the stock to "Hold" from "Sell."
Auto dealer Leoni rose by 2.67 percent. HSBC upgraded the stock to "Overweight" from "Neutral."
In London, Cape sank by 36.63 percent. The non-mechanical support services provider issued a profit warning related to losses arising from its Arzew Project in Algeria.
Aggreko climbed by 2.33 percent, after HSBC upgraded the stock to "Overweight" from "Neutral."
Barclays fell by 1.91 percent and Royal Bank of Scotland finished lower by 2.66 percent. Lloyds Banking Group declined by 4.12 percent and HSBC lost 0.17 percent.
Vedanta Resources declined by 3.30 percent and BHP Billiton fell by 0.87 percent. Xstrata decreased by 2.40 percent and Antofagasta lost 0.88 percent. Fresnillo finished down by 2.23 percent and Kazakhmys dropped by 1.38 percent.
Eurozone's leading economic index decreased in April, after improving in the previous month, data released by the Conference Board showed Friday. The leading economic index decreased to 104.8 in April from 105.6 in March. In February, the reading was 105.5.
Confidence among German consumers is set to remain stable in June, as the country's vibrant labor market and export gains shielded the economy from the turbulent economic conditions in the rest of Eurozone. The consumer confidence index for June was at 5.7, unchanged from the revised reading of May. The May score was revised from 5.6 reported previously.
French consumer sentiment continued to recover in May, survey results from the statistical office Insee revealed Friday. The consumer confidence index rose to 90 from April's revised level of 89. Economists were expecting the index to remain at April's originally reported reading of 88.
U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of May improved by more than previously estimated, according to a report released by Reuters and the University of Michigan on Friday, with the consumer sentiment index upwardly revised to a new multi-year high.
The report showed that the consumer sentiment index for May was upwardly revised to 79.3 from the mid-month reading of 77.8. The upward revision surprised economists, who had expected the index to come in unchanged.
by RTT Staff Writer
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