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European Markets Finish Little Changed After Pullback On Wall Street

The European markets spent most of Friday's session trading in the green. However, the quick reversal on Wall Street drove the markets lower in the afternoon. Traders were encouraged after Citigroup, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan reported better than expected financial results.

However, the weaker than expected U.S. consumer sentiment report had a negative impact on investor sentiment.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.12 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks increased 0.12 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.03 percent.

The DAX of Germany climbed 0.22 percent and the CAC 40 of France rose 0.11 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.09 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 0.02 percent.

In Frankfurt, Volkswagen slid 0.12 percent after appointing Herbert Diess as its new CEO.

In Paris, Klepierre rallied 3.60 percent. The real estate investment trust has decided to drop a bid for U.K. mall owner Hammerson.

Alstom rose 0.52 percent. A consortium led by the company has signed a contract with CDPQ Infra to deliver a complete automatic and driverless light metro system for the Réseau express metropolitan project in Montreal, Canada.

In London, BT Group advanced 0.42 percent. According to the Financial Times, the BT Pension Scheme is selling its majority stake in asset manager Hermes.

Micro Focus International jumped 3.22 percent on a Bloomberg report that hedge fund Elliott Management has taken a stake in the software firm.

Rolls Royce Holdings dropped 1.63 percent. In an update on certain Trent 1000 engine in-service issues, the company said that it has decided to carry out additional engine inspections to those previously planned.

Sage Group sank 8.18 percent as its first-half organic revenue growth came in below expectations.

Hammerson tumbled 9.04 percent after French shopping centre company Klépierre said it does not intend to make a formal offer for the U.K. mall owner.
The euro area trade surplus increased in February as the decline in imports was bigger than the fall in exports, Eurostat reported Friday.

Exports fell 2.3 percent in February from January. At the same time, imports declined 3.1 percent.

The trade surplus rose to a seasonally adjusted EUR 21 billion from EUR 20.2 billion in January.

Germany's consumer price inflation accelerated in March, as initially estimated, final data from Destatis showed Friday. Inflation rose to 1.6 percent from 1.4 percent in February. The rate came in line with the flash estimate published on March 29.

China posted its first trade deficit in more than a year in March as exports declined unexpectedly as the Lunar New Year holidays disrupted activity, data from the General Administration of Customs showed Friday.

Exports decreased 2.7 percent year-on-year in March, reversing a 44.1 percent surge posted in February. Shipments were expected to grow 11.9 percent.

Meanwhile, imports climbed 14.4 percent annually, bigger than the 12 percent increase economists had forecast.

Consequently, the trade balance showed a deficit of $4.98 billion in March. This was the first deficit since February 2017. Economists had forecast a surplus of $27.5 billion.

After reporting U.S. consumer sentiment at a fourteen-year high in the previous month, the University of Michigan released a report on Friday showing sentiment has pulled back by much more than expected in the month of April.

The report said the preliminary reading on the consumer sentiment index for April came in at 97.8 compared to the final March reading of 101.4. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 100.5.

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