European stocks close higher after strong earnings; Stoxx 600 up 1.1%

European stocks closed provisionally higher Friday, as investor confidence appeared to take hold after a sharp sell-off earlier this month.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally up almost 1.1 percent, with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Vopak was the top performer Friday after its latest figures beat market expectations. The Dutch oil and chemical company said full-year results were lifted by a stronger-than-anticipated performance in the final three months of the year. Its shares were 13.7 percent higher.

Swedish defense firm Saab posted worse-than-expected earnings, sending shares down almost 1 percent. The Stockholm-based firm said fourth-quarter operating earnings fell to 882 million Swedish crowns ($111 million) during the final three months of 2017. That was down from 960 million Swedish crowns in the same quarter a year earlier.

Looking at individual stocks, German insurer Allianz reported a 22 percent fall in net profit in the fourth quarter of 2017. The company blamed recent changes to the U.S. tax system, a weak U.S. dollar, one-off costs and natural disasters as a drag on its latest figures. Its shares were up almost 0.6 percent.

French carmaker Renault said operating profit had hit an all-time high in 2017 on Friday, emboldening CEO Carlos Ghosn’s position amid domestic pressure to outline a clearer succession plan. Its shares were trading up 2 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks rose and looked to be on track for their best weekly gain in five years. Global equity markets were hit with a sharp sell-off two weeks ago, marking what some analysts believed to be the beginning of the end for low volatility.

The U.S. dollar pared some of its losses on Friday, after slumping to multi-year lows against a basket of major currencies earlier in the session. The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of rivals, slipped to 88.36 — its lowest level since late 2014 — before recovering to 88.89 at 11:48 a.m. ET.

Elsewhere, cryptocurrency bitcoin climbed back above the $10,000 mark for the first time in two weeks Friday. The digital asset was trading at $10,121 at 11:48 a.m. ET, according to CoinDesk data. It had lost two-thirds of its value in a rapid plunge from a record high above $19,000 in mid-December to a low of below $6,000 last week. Source: CNBC