European Stocks Close Mixed on Friday as Optimism on Brexit Progress Outweighs US Tax Bill Concerns

European stocks finished the last session of the trading week mixed as progress between the UK and the rest of the European Union on the country's exit outweighed uncertainty about the passage of US President Donald Trump's tax reform.

"The 'will they, won't they' of tax cuts goes on in Washington, providing some drama on an otherwise quiet day for markets," Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said in an e-mailed note. "The UK and Europe wrapped up phase 1 talks in Brussels, with the way to phase 2 now clear. We can expect more late night talks and fraught last-minute deals, but the playbook appears set."

Beauchamp said that he expects volume to start drying up as traders head into the Christmas holidays "with the big participants looking to close out their books in good time to protect gains."

Trump's tax bill, which according to earlier plans would reduce the US corporate tax rate from a maximum of 35% to a flat 20% rate along with other changes to existing rules, is due for a final vote in Congress next week. Republican negotiators worked to put finishing touches to the bill on Friday including raising the child tax credit in order to win over two wavering senators, Reuters reported on Friday.

In Brussels earlier on Friday EU leaders gave their approval to Brexit negotiations to progress to the second phase, which includes talks about the future trading relationship between Britain and the EU.

"This is an important step on the road to delivering the smooth and orderly Brexit that people voted for in June of last year," UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in an interview on Friday, the Independent newspaper reported.

"The UK and the EU have shown what can be achieved by commitment and perseverance on both sides."

In economic news, employment in the manufacturing industry at companies with 50 or more people in Germany rose 2.1% in October from a year earlier to 5.5 million people, the Federal Statistical Office, Destatis, reported on Friday.

In equities, on London's FTSE 100, broadcaster Sky gained 2.4% and gold miner Fresnillo added 2.3%. Clothes retailer Next declined 2.3%.

On Frankfurt's DAX index, utility E.ON added 2.2%, while its rival RWE lost 2.7%. Sportswear retailer Adidas gained 1.9%.

On the CAC 40 in Paris, industrial gas supplier Air Liquide gained 1.3% and engineering firm Schneider Electric, rose 0.8%. Grocer Carrefour lost 2.3%.

The FTSE 100 closed higher 0.57% and the DAX rose 0.27%. The CAC 40 fell 0.15%.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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