Data in focus after UK lawmakers vote to delay Brexit

UBS shares fell around 1.1 percent after the bank said it had set aside 450 million euros ($516 million) to appeal a French court ruling that slapped a 4.5 billion euro fine on the company for alleged money laundering, Reuters reported.

Swedbank, also facing money laundering allegations, saw its shares lose half a percent Friday afternoon, after Swedish media reported an internal probe uncovered $10 billion of “suspicious” transactions relating to Danske Bank customers. Shares in both banks ended higher, despite the news.

Travel retailer Dufry surged towards the top of the European benchmark, gaining 2.3 percent after reporting turnover growth of 3.7 percent in 2018. The company also announced shareholder dividends would rise by 6.7 percent from the previous year.

Shares of Anglo-German travel firm Tui rose 2.4 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded its stock to “overweight” on Thursday.

Tech shares, and particular chipmakers, dominated the best performing European stocks. Globally chip stocks have performed well in recent weeks on upbeat earnings and hopes of a trade war breakthrough.

In other corporate news, BMW posted a net profit loss of almost 17 percent in 2018. The German car manufacturer’s shares were 1 percent higher after it warned of a difficult 2019 and said it would set up cost-cutting measures in anticipation of continued headwinds.

Inflation in the euro zone saw a 1.5 percent year-on-year increase in February, the European Commission confirmed on Friday.

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