BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT/PARIS (dpa-AFX) - European markets ended higher on Friday, extending recent gains, on easing concerns about Brexit and optimism about U.S.-China trade talks.
With most of the markets in the region closing on a firm note and several sectors seeing strong buying, the pan European Stoxx 600 ended 0.68% up. The U.K.'s FTSE gained 0.6%, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 ended stronger by 0.85% and 1.04%, respectively. Switzerland's SMI ended flat.
Among other markets in Europe, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey all ended higher.
Czech Republic edged up marginally, while Austria ended flat. Norway and Portugal closed weak.
Among the prominent gainers in European markets, shares of travel firm Tui climbed nearly 2.5%. Dufry gained 2.3% after the company reported a 3.7% jump in turnover in 2018.
BMW ended more than 1% up despite the company reporting a 17% drop in net profit in the year 2018 and warned that 2019 will be tough year for the company.
Restaurant Group shares rose sharply after the company said that its controversial takeover of Wagamama would prove 'transformative'.
UBS declined more than 1% after the bank announced that it has set aside about 450 million euros to appeal against a ruling by a French court that slapped a fine of 4.5 billion euro on the company for alleged money laundering.
Volkswagen edged down on reports the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission charged the company with defrauding U.S. investors by raising more than $13 billion from them through false claims about the environmental impact of its 'clean diesel' fleet.
Hennes & Mauritz shares slumped after the company said its first-quarter net sales increased by 10%.
In economic news, latest figures from Eurostat confirmed that Eurozone inflation accelerated as expected in February, while the core price growth eased. The harmonized inflation rose to 1.5% from January's 1.4%.
The core inflation rate that excludes energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, slowed to 1% in February from 1.1% in January. Both inflation figures were in line with economists' expectations.
Prices rose 0.3% from the previous month in February.
Energy price inflation accelerated to 3.6% in February, from 2.7% in January, marking the highest annual rate among the main components.
Prices in the food, alcohol and tobacco group rose 2.3% year-on-year after a 1.8% climb in January. Services costs grew 1.3% following a 1.6% percent rise in January.
Germany's wholesale price inflation rose to 1.6% in February after slowing in the previous month, data from Destatis revealed on Friday.
On a month-on-month basis, wholesale prices rose 0.3% in February, reversing a 0.7% fall in the previous month. The latest increase was the biggest in four months.
Worries about Brexit eased after lawmakers voted to postpone the country's departure from the European Union on Thursday, giving Prime Minister Theresa May some breathing space.
On U.S.-China trade front, optimism about progress in trade talks increased on reports Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had telephonic conversations with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX