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European markets close higher to end bruising quarter; Stoxx 600 notches worst month since June

European markets close higher to end bruising quarter; Stoxx 600 notches worst month since June

LONDON ― European markets closed higher on Friday but not by enough to reverse losses over a torrid month.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed up 1.3%, as construction stocks gained 2.4% and media stocks added 2.3%. Household goods and utilities were flat for the session.

However, the last trading day of September saw the blue-chip index down 7.8% over the month — its worst performance since June — and down 6% over the third quarter.

Global stocks have struggled amid fears over slowing growth and aggressive monetary policy tightening.

Shares in Asia-Pacific retreated on Friday following the overnight plunge stateside, though new data showed Chinese factory activity unexpectedly expanded in August.

Volatility continues in U.K. markets after the Bank of England intervened in the bond market on Wednesday in order to shore up the country’s financial stability, after a historic sell-off in long-dated gilts.

Sterling also hit an all-time low on Monday following the new government’s widely condemned fiscal policy announcements, but has staged a significant rally in recent days and hit a week-high on Friday.

Stateside, several Fed officials are due to speak on Friday afternoon, and the markets will be watching closely for indications as to the pace of future rate hikes from the central bank.

Written by Kristel Haire