) -- European markets were slightly higher in early morning trading Friday, despite earlier weakness in Asia and the losses seen in U.S. markets overnight. Oil stocks took a beating after a profit warning by Anglo Dutch oil major
Royal Dutch Shell
, which blamed rising production costs and losses on its refining operations, especially in Asia. Shell was down just under 3% at 2,129.5 pence, and its big U.K. rival
was down 0.89% at 485.20 pence a share.
British banks were also weaker, on fears of political moves following a general election next year to cap the biggest retail banks' market share. The leader of the opposition Labor Party was expected to say Friday that banks would be forced to sell off branches and the accompanying mortgages and retail and small business accounts to create new competitors in the market.
Lloyds Banking Group
shed 0.2% to 83.92 pence,
Royal Bank of Scotland
lost 1.6% to 365 pence and
shed 0.36% to 289.4.
In Germany, shares in satellite and cable broadcaster
ProSieben.Sat1 Media rose 0.4% on news that private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Permira sold their last remaining 16.6% stake in a share placement this morning, for 1.3 billion euros ($1.77 billion).
London's FTSE 100 index was up 0.26% at 6832, in Frankfurt, the DAX hit another record, up 0.66% at 9,781 and in Paris, the CAC40 was up 0.46% at 4,339.
Europe's more positive mood contrasted with mixed markets in Asia. The Chinese market might have been expected to have received a boost after its first IPO since October 2012. But the listing of industrial valve maker
Neway Valve, which raised $241 million on Friday, has renewed worries that the upcoming wave of new listings will suck liquidity from the market and hit existing stocks. The Shanghai composite finished the day down 0.93% at 2,004 and Tokyo was also more or less flat at 15,734.46, but Hong Kong was up 0.64% at 23,133.35.