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Europe stocks close higher as FTSE, Swiss index notch record highs

Stocks in Europe closed higher Friday, as investors monitored euro zone inflation data and U.S. nonfarm payrolls.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended provisionally up 0.8 percent, extending gains from the previous session with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory. Gains in financials pushed Britain’s FTSE 100 to another record high on Friday, while Switzerland’s blue-chip SMI notched an all-time high.

Europe’s autos stocks led the gains Friday morning, up 2 percent. Fiat Chrysler was the top performer in the sector, trading over 6 percent higher after J.P. Morgan raised its stock recommendation for the Milan-listed firm to “overweight” from “neutral”.

Looking at individual stocks, Steinhoff shares topped the benchmark for the third consecutive day Friday after the firm’s finance chief announced he would move to a new position. The South African retailer’s CFO said he would focus on helping plug a $2.9 billion hole in the group’s finances in the wake of an accounting scandal. Steinhoff’s shares were more than 6 percent higher on the news.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank sunk to the bottom of the European index after it said it would post a small loss due to low volatility, low levels of client activity and the impact of U.S. tax reform. Shares of the German lender were down 5 percent.

US stocks extend gains

On Wall Street, stocks opened higher as Wall Street shrugged off jobs data that missed expectations. Non-farm payrolls rose 148,000 in December versus market expectations of a 190,000 rise, while the rate of U.S. unemployment remained at 4.1 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average hit a key psychological mark of 25,000 points for the first time on Thursday. It was the fastest 1,000-point move in the Dow’s history after the 30-stock index broke above 24,000 on November 30 — just 35 calendar days before reaching 25,000.

Meanwhile, euro zone inflation slowed to 1.4 percent in December from 1.5 percent the month before, bringing into question an end to the European Central Bank’s asset purchasing program.

In commodities, oil prices retreated from their highest level since May 2015 as surging U.S. production appeared to offset political unrestin Iran. Brent crude traded at $67.50 a barrel on at about 4:47 p.m. London time (11:47 a.m. ET) Friday, down 0.57 percent, while U.S. crude was seen at $61.30, down 0.71 percent.

Source: CNBC

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