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European Markets Close Higher

European markets closed higher on Friday, recovering from recent losses, although buying interest was somewhat subdued at one stage in most parts of the region amid a bit of uncertainty about the pace of economic recovery.

Investors were largely reacting to quarterly earnings reports and the latest batch of economic data from the euro area and the U.S.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gained 0.53%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged up 0.1%, Germany's DAX climbed 0.77% and France's CAC advanced 0.79%, while Switzerland's SMI edged down 0.12%. FTSE 100 gained about 0.5% in the week and CAC 40 moved up more than 1%, while the DAX shed about 0.4%.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey ended with strong gains.

Finland and Poland ended marginally higher, while Czech Republic, Denmark and Greece closed weak.

In the UK market, Antofagasta gained more than 7%. Rolls-Royce Holdings, Natwest Group, IAG, Evraz, Barclays Group, Glencore, Anglo American, BT Group and Melrose Industries moved up 3 to 6%.

Johnson Matthey, JD Sports Fashion, IHG, M&G, Prudential, Fresnillo, BHP Group, Ashtead Group and Associated British Foods also rose sharply.

On the other hand, Experian, Reckitt Benckiser, Intertek, AstraZeneca, Relx, Rentokil and GlaxoSmithKline lost 2 to 3.6%.

In the German market, Infineon Technologies, Deutsche Bank, Thyssenkrupp, Lufthansa, Adidas, Siemens and Continental gained 2 to 4%.

Bayer, BASF, Volkswagen, MTU Aero Engines and Covesto also ended notably higher, while Beiersdorf, Fresenius Medical Care and SAP closed lower by 1 to 2%.

In France, Safran, ArcelorMittal, Societe Generale, Air France-KLM, Hermes International, Carrefour, Saint Gobain, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and STMicroElectronics gained 2 to 4%.

Shares of Danone rose more than 2% after the company reported that its net income - group share for fiscal year 2020 rose to 1.96 billion euros from 1.93 billion euros in the prior year.

Renault slid more than 4% after it posted a record annual loss of 8 billion euros ($9.68 billion). Sanofi, Unibail Rodamco, Vivendi and Bouygues were among the other prominent losers.

In economic releases, the flash reading of the IHS Markit eurozone composite purchasing managers index rose to a two-month high of 48.1 in February from 47.8 in January.

Germany's private sector expanded in February driven by the strong rebound in manufacturing despite increasing supply-side pressures, flash survey results from IHS Markit showed. The composite output index rose to 51.3 in February from 50.8 in January. Economists had forecast the score to fall to 50.5.

French consumer prices rose 0.6% in January, as initially estimated, final data released by the statistical office Insee showed. On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices gained 0.2% in January, in line with the flash estimate.

The UK private sector output contracted only marginally in February reflecting a near-stabilization in services activity amid continuing recovery in manufacturing, a closely watched survey showed.

The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply flash composite output index climbed more-than-expected to 49.8 in February from 41.2 in January. The score was forecast to rise to 42.2.

U.K. retail sales volume decreased 8.2% month-on-month in January as tighter nationwide coronavirus restrictions affected demand, the Office for National Statistics said.

Switzerland's industrial production declined 3.8% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, data from the Federal Statistical Office showed. Secondary sector production declined 3.1% yearly in the fourth quarter, while construction output rose 0.2%.

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