(RTTNews.com) - The European markets ended Friday's session in the green, extending their gains from the previous six trading days. The recent upward trend in Europe brought the markets to their highest level in nearly two months.
European economic data proved mixed at the end of the trading week. German unemployment tumbled to a record low, but German retail sales disappointed. Traders also continue to digest the U.S. tax reform plan and attempt to assess the path forward for the proposal.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.32 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks increased 0.88 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.29 percent.
In Frankfurt, Volkswagen fell 0.45 percent after its former engine chief was reportedly arrested in connection with its diesel emission scandal. Porsche shares lost 2.5 percent.
In Paris, telecommunications company Orange rose 0.29 percent after its CEO ruled out buying stakes in Bouygues or Vivendi.
In London, Petra Diamonds climbed 4.35 percent. The diamond mining group said workers had ended a strike on pay at its Finsch and Koffiefontein mines.
Insurer Aviva advanced 0.98 percent after selling its entire shareholding in its joint venture in Italy, Avipop Assicurazioni S.p.A., to Banco BPM S.p.A for 265 million euros.
ABN Amro climbed 2.24 percent in Amsterdam as Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock.
Eurozone inflation held steady in September, flash data from Eurostat showed Friday. Inflation came in at 1.5 percent in September, the same rate as seen in August. Economists had forecast the rate to rise slightly to 1.6 percent.
Germany's unemployment declined notably in September and the rate fell to a new record low, data from the Federal Labor Agency revealed Friday.
The number of people out of work decreased by 23,000 in September compared to the expected drop of 5,000.
The jobless rate fell to 5.6 percent, the lowest since reunification in 1990. The rate was forecast to remain unchanged at 5.7 percent.
Germany's retail sales logged a steady growth in August, figures from Destatis showed Friday. Retail sales climbed 2.8 percent year-on-year in August, the same rate of growth as seen in the July. Sales were forecast to rise at a faster pace of 3.2 percent.
France's consumer price inflation increased marginally in September, flash data from the statistical office Insee showed Friday. Consumer price inflation rose slightly to 1 percent in September from 0.9 percent in August. The rate came in line with expectations. This was the highest since April.
France's consumer spending decreased in August after rebounding in the previous month, figures from the statistical office INSEE showed Friday. Consumer spending fell 0.3 percent month-over-month in August, reversing a 0.6 percent rise in July.
The UK economy grew as previously estimated in the second quarter, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. Nonetheless, past data on the national accounts and balance of payments were revised.
Gross domestic product grew 0.3 percent sequentially in the second quarter, unrevised from the second estimate published on August 24, and the same rate as seen in the first quarter.
Consumer confidence in the United Kingdom improved slightly in September, the latest survey from GfK revealed on Friday with an index score of -9. That beat forecasts for a reading of -11, and it was up from -10.
UK mortgage approvals declined in August, data from the Bank of England showed Friday. The number of mortgage approvals fell more-than-expected to 66,580 in August from 68,452 in the previous month. The expected level was 67,300.
U.S. personal income and spending both rose in line with economist estimates in the month of August, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday.
The Commerce Department said personal income edged up by 0.2 percent in August after rising by a downwardly revised 0.3 percent in July.
Economists had expected income to rise by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.4 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
The report said personal spending also inched up by 0.1 percent in August after climbing by an unrevised 0.3 percent in July. The uptick in spending matched expectations.
A report released by MNI Indicators on Friday unexpectedly showed a significant acceleration in the pace of growth in Chicago-area business activity in the month of September. MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer jumped to 65.2 in September from 58.9 in August, with a reading above 50 indicating growth.
The substantial increase by the business barometer came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the index to edge down to 58.5.
Consumer sentiment in the U.S. deteriorated by slightly more than initially estimated in the month of September, the University of Michigan revealed in a report on Friday. The report said the consumer sentiment index for September was downwardly revised to 95.1 from the preliminary reading of 95.3. Economists had expected the index to be unrevised.
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