European markets closed higher on Friday as investors digested better-than-expected corporate earnings from the U.S.
The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 ended 0.95 percent higher with all sectors and most bourses trading in positive territory. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 closed up 0.56 percent and stretched its record-breaking run to a twelfth consecutive trading day.
The auto sector closed higher despite news of potential new investigations for some in the industry. Shares of Renault ended down by more than 2.89 percent after it confirmed that French prosecutors were investigating the company over diesel emissions.
Shares of Fiat-Chrysler were up by more than 4.61 percent on Friday after a steep fall in the previous session.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused the carmaker of illegally using hidden software to allow excess diesel emissions on Thursday but CEO Sergio Marchionne said the news would not affect the company’s financial targets, according to reports in Italy.
Meanwhile, health care stocks closed higher on Friday recovering from remarks made earlier this week by President-elect Donald Trump that pharmaceuticals were “getting away with murder.”
Basic resources ended higher after opening in negative territory on new data that showed Chinese exports dropped in December. Imports rose 3.1 percent on growing demand for commodities but this was down from November’s 6.7 percent growth.
Banking stocks were also higher as investors looked at the U.S. for earnings data. Bank of America reported better-than-expected quarterly profits but its revenues dropped. JPMorgan Chase reported record high fourth quarter revenue figures while Wells Fargo disappointed slightly and posted a decrease in earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average continued slightly higher and renewed investor optimism that the blue-chips index could go above and beyond the 20,000 threshold.
Ubi Banca shares closed up by more than 9.5 percent on Friday after investors approved a a capital increase and a bidding offer worth a symbolic 1 euro to buy three smaller Italian banks.
Technicolor shares tanked, closing more than 19.6 percent lower, after the French multinational presented worse-than-expected profits for 2016.
Elsewhere, oil prices fell on Friday after persistent doubts regarding the extent of OPEC production cuts. Sentiment turned sour with the news China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, reported its steepest fall in overall oil exports in 7 years, raising concerns about its economic health.
Brent crude traded at around $55.63 a barrel on Friday shortly after the European close, down 0.71 percent, while U.S. crude was around $52.53 a barrel, down 0.92 percent.