European stocks fight back to close higher; oil in focus

European stocks gyrated on Friday , partially affected by a steep dip in oil prices.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 moved lower in the early afternoon but recovered ground to close Friday’s session provisionally 0.42 percent higher by the closing bell.

Oil prices slumped to their lowest levels in more than a year on Friday, deepening a rapid seven-week sell-off that has plunged crude futures deep into a bear market.

Friday’s declines further ramp up the pressure on OPEC ahead of a much-anticipated meeting between the influential oil cartel and its allied partners.

OPEC and non-OPEC members are expected to start curtailing output at a meeting in Vienna on December 6.

By the close of trade WTI sat at around $51.13 per barrel and Brent Crude was at $58.83. The Stoxx Euro Oil and Gas sector shed 2.9 percent

Europe’s banking index moved into positive territory on Friday, up around 0.5 percent amid support from Italy’s notoriously fragile lenders. Banco BPM, Unicredit and Ubi Banca were all trading more than 2 percent higher after the country’s deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, reportedly said Rome would show the highest willingness to work with European institutions in order to resolve a budget stand-off.

However, Di Maio also told La Repubblica Friday that Italy would not be prepared to amend the main pillars of its expansionary 2019 budget. The European Commission has already rejected the country’s big spending plans, saying it fails to bring down the deficit as required by EU regulations.

Looking at other individual stocks, Britain’s Flybe surged towards the top of the London Stock Exchange on Friday. It comes after the regional airline confirmed Virgin Atlantic was one of the parties it was in talks with as part of a formal sales process.

Rival airlines including Ryanair and Easyjet had previously ruled themselves out of bidding for Flybe. Shares of the stock rose more than 70 percent on the news, albeit from a low base..

Euro zone PMI

Weak data for the euro zone affected markets on Friday. IHS Markit’s Flash Composite PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) for November came in at 52.4. That still represents expansion but is the weakest number since late 2014.

Bond yields fell as investors increased bets that weak growth across the euro zone (19 of the 28 European Union members) would slow the ECB’s plan to withdraw stimulus.

Brexit

Market focus is largely attuned to Brexit developments, after a draft deal was reached between the U.K. and the European Union late Thursday.

The agreement follows a treaty last week that set the terms for Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc in March 2019.

The British government still faces a daunting task in getting the deal through Parliament, with lawmakers deeply divided over the proposal in its current form.

Source: CNBC

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