In European Equity Markets financials led stocks higher on Thursday in a reversal of earlier losses after a muted response to the approval by the U.S. Congress of a long-anticipated tax overhaul, while a vote in Catalonia remained in focus.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended the session with a 0.6 percent gain.
Britain’s FTSE hitting a record, up 1.1 percent.
Spain’s IBEX was up 1 percent, shrugging off any jitters over a regional Catalan election in Spain.
Nokia was among the best performers on the STOXX 600, rising 4 percent after announcing a patent agreement with China’s Huawei.
Scandal-hit Steinhoff saw a volatile trading session, ending 0.7 percent higher after falling as much as 17 percent earlier in the session.
In Currency Markets the dollar edged higher on Thursday after two days of losses in light trading, lifted by generally positive U.S. data and a tax overhaul plan that could prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at a faster-than-expected pace.
In mid-morning trading, the dollar was slightly higher against a basket of major currencies at 93.352.
The euro was modestly lower at $1.1864, having gained around 1 percent so far this week, supported by a rise in German bond yields.
The dollar was last little changed at 113.40 yen, as the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy measures unchanged, signaling its attention to continue with its loose monetary policy measures.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell on Thursday after the operator of Britain’s Forties pipeline in the North Sea said it was expected to restart in early January after repairs over Christmas.
Forties is the largest of the five North Sea crudes that underpin Brent, a benchmark for oil trading in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Oil prices have risen since the pipeline was shut on Dec 11. But Brent oil prices fell after the announcement and were down 28 cents at $64.28 per barrel.