Europe's markets close with a flourish

After a lacklustre start to trading this morning, European markets have picked up the pace as the afternoon session has progressed.

The FTSE 100 has had a head start over its European counterparts following some encouraging Chinese economic data. Commodity markets have subsequently been boosted and the mining sector has helped pull the UK blue-chip index higher. Going into the close the top five highest movers are all mining stocks, and all  are up by at least 6%.

Although less weighted in the mining sector, the greater exposure of European markets’ exporting equities have helped to balance this out.

In contrast, US markets have been in the red since the open and have found the Federal Reserve’s stance over the end of QE tapering more difficult to shake off. Added to these lingering fears, there has been an absence of corporate or economic data to help drag markets higher, and the thinner trading volumes and sparsely-filled trading floors indicate that US traders have slipped into weekend mode earlier than usual.

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