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European stock markets climbedFriday, led by London as the pound hit near four-week lows against the dollar.

Earlier, Asian equities closed lower following declines Thursday on Wall Street where the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump weighed on sentiment.

But on Friday, Wall Street was on the front foot again, with Forex.com analyst Faward Razaqzada saying the US market were ready for a breakout after absorbing so much negative news recently.

"What can't break you makes you stronger," he said. "I wouldn't bet against a sharp rally for the US indices today."

A move towards easier central bank monetary policy was helping sentiment, he said.

Bank of England board member Michael Saunders also appeared to open the door to a rate cut, said Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index trading group.

Pound tanks

But very same factor boosting stock sentiment caused the pound to "tank", she said.

"The comments from Saunders highlight the marked weakening of the UK economy over recent quarters; dragged down not only by Brexit uncertainty but also softer global growth," Cincotta added.

The pound fell to $1.2271, the lowest point in nearly four weeks, before clawing back some of its losses.

The weaker sterling pushed up share prices of multinationals listed on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index.

In commodities, crude prices slipped following the swift recovery in Saudi production that slumped in the wake of attacks on its oil infrastructure two weeks ago.

"The market has been trading lower as oil bulls have been discouraged by the quicker-than-expected return of Saudi oil output," said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader.

Meanwhile, the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which had been held by Iran for more than two months, set sail and reached international waters Friday, its Swedish owner said.

US Pesident Donald Trump
The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is weighing on investor sentiment Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB

Key figures around 1335 GMT

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.8 percent at 7,411.05 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.8 percent at 12,380.52

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.1 percent at 5,628.19

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,541.93

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 26,955.02

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 percent at 25,954.81 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 2,932.167 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.8 percent at 21,878.9 (close)

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2320 from $1.2321 at 2030 GMT

Euro/pound: UP at 88.72 pence from 88.63

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0938 from $1.0920

Dollar/yen: UP at 108.13 from 107.88 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.8 percent at $60.63 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.7 percent at $55.44 per barrel

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