European markets drifted higher Friday, arresting a four-day decline.
Data showed the French budget deficit rose more than expected in the last quarter to 86.1 billion as against expectations for a 79 billion deficit. French trade balance also fell unexpectedly last month.
On Thursday, the European Central bank left its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.25% and ECB President Mario Draghi said that risks to the economic outlook remained on the downside. But he warned that the euro zone could face a prolonged period of low inflation.
Stocks on the Move
Oil majors were higher with Royal Dutch Shell climbing 1.5% and BG Group up 1.4%. BP was up 0.8%.
Homebuilder Berkeley Group Holdings advanced 9% after reporting results.
Shire PLC was down about a percent after the company said the drug Lifitegrast - a treatment for dry eye disease – met only one goal in a study.
French energy major Total was up 0.6% after the company agreed to buy a stake in InterOil’s assets in Papua New Guinea.
Deutsche Bank declined 0.4%.