European Equity Benchmarks Close Higher

The broad-based major European indices closed the week higher in Friday’s trading session, as rising pharmaceutical stocks countered slumping banks and financial stocks.

In economic news, U.K.’s gross domestic product in volume terms grew 0.5% between Q2 and Q3, according to the Office for National Statistics. Compared to the same period last year, GDP in terms of volume increased 2.3%. It is the 15th consecutive quarter of positive growth since Q1 of 2013.

In Germany, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported that price-adjusted new orders in the main construction industry in September increased 1.6% from the previous month. In building construction and civil and underground engineering, in enterprises with 20 or more people, turnover increased 9.2% compared with September of 2015.

Meanwhile, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, reported that 63.2% of people who were unemployed in Q1 in the in the E.U, remained unemployed in Q2, while 19.5% found work.

In equities, satellite broadcaster BSkyB led the FTSE higher in Friday’s trading session, rising 3.9%, followed by online betting and gaming company Paddy Power, which gained 3.3%. Health care stocks also bolstered the market, as pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline climbed 2.2% and 1.2% respectively, while private healthcare provider Mediclinic added 1.2% and medical technology company Smith & Nephew rose 1.1%.

In Frankfurt, health care stocks also buoyed the DAX as pharmaceutical giant Merck added 1.6% and health care company Fresenius Medical Care closed up 1.1%. Utilities E.ON and RWE gained 1.6% and 0.4% respectively, while tire maker Continental rose 0.8%. Automakers BMW and Volkswagen both added 0.3%.

And in Paris, food processing company Danone led the CAC higher, gaining 1.8%, followed by chemical company Solvay, and natural gas and electricity provider Engie, which rose 1.5% and 1.1% respectively.

Slumping banking and financial stocks weighed down the three major markets, as Lloyds Banking shed 1.5% and Royal Bank of Scotland dropped 0.8% in London. In Frankfurt, Commerzbank was off 1.8% in Frankfurt and BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole declined 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively in Paris.

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