By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) ? European stock markets moved higher in volatile action Friday, putting themselves on track for a 1.3% weekly gain, after Germany approved Greece?s latest rescue deal, although worries over the U.S. ?fiscal cliff? weighed on investors? minds.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index ?inched 0.2% higher to 276.95 in Friday?s session, after rising for a third consecutive day Thursday.
?Markets continue to defy the lack of progress on the U.S. fiscal-cliff negotiations, adopting a constructive view on the back of positive U.S. data,? analysts at Barclays said in a note.
Shares of LVMH Mo?t Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMHF)?rose 3% after Goldman Sachs lifted the stock to buy from neutral.
Shares of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS)?dropped 0.8% as the bank said that the agreed sale of its Indian retail- and commercial-banking operations to HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC)? had collapsed and it would wind down the business instead.
Shares of HSBC rose 1.2%.
The U.K.?s FTSE 100 index ?was 0.2% higher at 5,882.65.
The broader sentiment was in early action weighed upon by concerns that U.S. policy makers won?t agree on a deal in time to avert automatic spending cuts and tax hikes. House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday there has been ?no substantive progress? and called on Democrats to ?get serious? about spending cuts.
Markets, however, got a helping hand from Germany, where the Bundestag reportedly approved the latest measures to help reduce Greece?s debt pile. The euro-zone finance ministers agreed earlier this week to cut interest rates on Greece?s bailout loans, defer interest payments and allow the country to buy back around 30 billion euros in debt.
News from the Far East also buoyed stock markets, as industrial production in Japan unexpectedly rose 1.8% in October.
Separately, the Japanese government approved the second stimulus package in a little more than a month, as a weak economy put pressure on the ruling party to boost economic growth ahead of elections later this year.
On the data front in the euro zone, a report showed unemployment for the currency bloc rose to 11.7% in October from 11.6% in September, marking an euro-era high.
In Germany, retail sales slumped 2.8% in October, worse than expected by analysts polled by Reuters.
The DAX 30 index , however, added 0.5% to 7,435.11.
Shares of HeidelbergCement AG ?rose 2.6%, after Morgan Stanley boosted its recommendation on the firm to overweight from equal weight.
France?s CAC 40 index ?added 0.4% to 3,581.81. Shares of Schneider Electric SA ?added 2.4% after HSBC lifted the stock to overweight from neutral.
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