EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Finish Higher, But Still Suffer Weekly Loss

06/22/2018 | 12:36pm

By Carla Mozee and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch

Services data provide cheer

Stocks across Europe closed higher Friday, aided by data showing business activity picked up in the eurozone after a slowdown.

Also helping sentiment was a eurozone agreement on a debt-relief plan for Greece after the country's bailout ends, and the energy sector got a lift from a rally for oil prices.

How markets are performing

Greece's Athex Composite jumped on the debt-relief news, but couldn't hold its sizable gains and finished 0.2% lower.

More broadly, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index was up 1.1% to end at 381.92, though it was still down 1.1% for the week. On Thursday, the Stoxx 600 fell 0.9% to mark its lowest close since April 25, according to FactSet data.

In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 index rose 0.5% to finish at 12,579.72. In Paris, the CAC 40 index was up 1.3% to 5,387.38, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 tacked on 1.7% to end at 7,682.27.

The euro rose to $1.1630, from $1.1604 late Thursday in New York.

What's driving markets

Early Friday, eurozone finance ministers agreed to ease Greece's debt burden when the country's bailout ends in August. Greece now has another 10 years to pay back almost EUR100 billion ($116 billion) of loans -- about half the bailout total since 2010 -- and to lend another EUR15 billion, in part to help build a cash buffer.

Check out:Greece gets green light to exit bailout program, but worries linger

Stocks rose at the open after services-sector figures for Germany and France -- Europe's first- and second-largest economies -- beat expectations for June. But the IHS Markit purchasing managers index data also pointed to slower growth for the manufacturing sectors in both countries.

A "worrying slide in export order growth seen since the start of the year continued into June, with the latest survey's anecdotal evidence highlighting quieter client interest from the U.S. and China," said Phil Smith, principal economist at IHS Markit, in a statement.

IHS Markit data for the whole of the eurozone showed a cooling in manufacturing growth in June, though the composite PMI showed a pickup in overall business activity for the first month in five, buoyed by services growth.

Trade-related fears also were remaining in focus. A brewing U.S.-China trade war escalated in June, while the European Union's own retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports are set to go into effect Friday .

Meanwhile, the oil market was in the spotlight Friday as OPEC and other major producers met in Vienna to hash out an agreement on crude supply. Crude futures traded sharply higher as Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries members agreed to raise output , but by an amount that appears likely to be less than traders had feared.

Stock movers

Major oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and BP jumped 3.5% and 3.1%, respectively.

Airbus SE were up 2.1%. The aerospace company has reportedly warned that it may have to leave the U.K. in the case of a so-called hard Brexit.

Shares of car makers continued to slip as concerns about the effect of a EU-U.S. trade war persist. U.S. President Donald Trump threatened levies on autos made in the EU in a tweet Friday (, echoing his past comments on the issue.

Daimler, which issued a profit warning Thursday, fell 0.3% on Friday. BMW AG (BMW.XE) lost 1.1% and Volkswagen AG shed 0.2%.

Read more:Why trade wrangles won't stop German auto stocks driving higher

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