Investing.com - European stocks were higher on Friday, supported an upbeat trend on U.S. and Asian markets, although Thursday''s weak euro zone data continued to weigh.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 added 0.18%, France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.14%, while Germany’s DAX 30 gained 0.15%.
On Thursday, the Markit euro zone composite output purchasing managers’ index ticked down to a two month low of 52.7 this month, but remained close to January’s 31-month high of 52.9.
A modest pickup in euro zone service sector activity was offset by an easing the rate of manufacturing output. However, manufacturing activity continued to outperform services activity, due in large part to strong export demand from outside the euro area.
Germany’s composite output index rose to a 32-month high this month, but France’s composite index fell to a two-month low, as service sector activity declined at the fastest rate in nine months.
Financial stocks were mixed, as BNP Paribas dipped 0.05% and Societe Generale gained 0.63% in France, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank inched up 0.04%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo rose 0.34% and 0.44% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA fell 0.18% and 0.28%.
Elsewhere, Axa tumbled 1.15% even as Europe’s second-largest insurer said 2013 full-year profit rose 10%, boosted by higher earnings at both its life and savings and property and casualty divisions.
Luxemburg-based Tenaris slipped 0.12% after saying project delays in Brazil and a trade dispute in the U.S. will weigh on sales in 2014. The company also posted net income of $408 million for the final three months of 2013, above estimates of $388 million.
In London, FTSE 100 climbed 0.44%, supported by gains in the financial sector.
Shares in HSBC Holdings advanced 0.40% and Lloyds Banking gained 0.57%, while Barclays jumped 0.91% and the Royal Bank of Scotland rallied 1.56%.
The Financial Times earlier reported that RBS plans to shut riskier investment-banking businesses and largely exit U.S. and Asian markets. The U.S. lender is expected to announce the restructuring next week and possibly cut its 120,000-person staff by a quarter over the next few years.
Meanwhile, mining stocks were mixed as Rio Tinto edged up 0.19% and Vedanta Resources rose 0.34%, while BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata lost 0.43% and 1.59% respectively.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.22% increase, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.19% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.14% gain.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release private sector data on existing homes sales.
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