European Stocks Close Higher As Focus Shifts To Upcoming Policy Meetings

European stocks closed higher on Friday with investors reacting to news about China loosening some of the world's strictest Covid-19 restrictions, and a drop in China's consumer price inflation.

Markets also looked ahead to the policy meetings of the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England, due next week. The Fed is widely expected to raise rates by 50 basis points, and the focus will be on the bank's accompanying statement.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.84%. Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 gained 0.74% and 0.46%, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged up 0.06%. Switzerland's SMI gained 0.58%.

Among other markets in Europe, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Turkiye closed higher.

Austria, Greece, Iceland and Portugal edged up marginally, while Russia ans Spain ended weak.

In the UK market, Smith (DS) and IHG gained 4.7% and 4.05%, respectively. Prudential, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Halma, Smurfit Kappa Group, Whibread, Admiral Group, ICP, Natwest Group, Mondia, Dechra Pharmaceuticals, Ocado Group, Hargreaves Lansdown and Barclays gained 1.5 to 3%.

Frasers Group shed nearly 4%. Anglo American Plc ended 3.3% down, while GSK, Tesco, Fresnillo, IAG and Scottish Mortgage ended lower by 1 to 2%.

In Paris, Saint Gobain climbed more than 3.5%. Veolia, Capgemini, Credit Agricole, Alstom and Unibail Rodamco gained 2 to 3%.

WorldLine drifted down 3.7%, while Stellantis and Thales ended lower by about 2.5% and 2.2%, respectively.

In the German market, Daimler, Continental, Merck, HeidelbergCement, Puma and BMW surged 2 to 3%. Covestro, BASF, RWE and Deutsche Bank gained 1.2 to 1.6%.

In economic news, the French economy is on the course to continue expanding at the end of the year but at a modest pace, the Bank of France estimated based on a monthly survey.

Gross domestic product will expand around 0.1% in the fourth quarter, the Bank of France said. The bank forecast GDP to be up slightly in November and virtually stable in December. This would follow the 0.2% growth posted in the third quarter.

Britons' inflation expectations for the coming year slowed slightly in November, the survey conducted by the market research firm Ipsos on behalf of the Bank of England showed.

The one-year ahead inflation is seen at 4.8% compared to 4.9% estimated in August, the latest quarterly Inflation Attitudes Survey revealed.

Respondents assessed the current rate of inflation at 9.2%, up from 7.6% in August.

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