LONDON (AFP) - Europe's main stock markets rose on Friday, with London making gains as strong retail sales data offset a profit warning from Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day up 0.20 percent at 6,829.30 points, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.26 percent to 9,742.96 points and the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.19 percent to 4,327.50 points.
"It?s been another fairly uneventful session today despite profit warnings, disappointing earnings announcements, and a huge surprise on UK retail sales for December which, despite these inputs, has been insufficient to shake traders out of their end of week lethargy, as markets meander around multi-week highs," said Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK.
British shoppers kept the tills ringing over Christmas, sending retail sales surging in a fresh sign of economic recovery, official data showed on Friday.
Retail sales jumped 5.3 percent in December compared with the same month of 2012. That was the fastest growth since October 2004.
FTSE 100 heavyweight Royal Dutch Shell meanwhile issued a severe profits warning blaming exploration costs, pressures across the oil industry, and disruption to Nigerian output.
The energy group said that fourth-quarter profits were set to be "significantly lower than recent levels of profitability".
Trader Markus Huber at broker Peregrine & Black said that "while the warning from Shell seems to be confined to this individual company, retail sales seem to point to a marked improvement in consumer sentiment which if it persists will affect the economy as a whole in a positive way in the months ahead.
"The extent of the warning was so severe and surprising at the same time that many almost prefer a wait-and-see attitude here to see how things develop ... before making any major long term investment decisions."
Shell's 'B' share price was down 1.15 percent at 2,279.5 pence, having clawed back some of its earlier heavy losses.
In Paris, Peugeot shares rose 2.27 percent to 11.48 euros on reports that the company's board would meet on Sunday to consider different formulas for China's Dongfeng and the French state to become shareholders.
Shares in leading eye-lense maker Essilor fell by 2.35 percent to 79.38 euros after the firm reported that sales in 2013 had fallen short of targets.
In foreign exchange activity on Friday, the European single currency dropped to $1.3560 from $1.3619 late on Thursday in New York.
The British pound meanwhile won a boost from the bright retail sales numbers. The euro fell to 82.50 pence from 83.27 pence on Thursday, while the pound rose to 1.6435 from $1.6353.
Gold prices drifted down to $1,250 an ounce from $1,241.50 Thursday on the London Bullion Market.
US stocks were mixed Friday following a series of uneven earnings reports and a drop in US housing starts.
In afternoon trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.30 percent.
The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.20 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.16 percent.
Asian equities diverged Friday, after a negative lead from Wall Street following disappointing corporate results and soft economic data.
Sydney and Tokyo stocks ended flat, and Shanghai lost 0.93 percent, while Hong Kong won 0.64 percent in value.