LONDON (TheDeal) -- European markets started the day in a hesitant mood on Friday, ahead of a German parliamentary vote on whether to accept a four month extension to the eurozone's Greek bailout. The vote went the government's way and approved the extension, but the uncertainty still weighed on the markets.
There was also some good news from the eurozone. French consumer spending was up 2.6% in January, compared with the same month in 2014. This could be a sign that despite the much-feared negative inflation rates that have dogged the regional economy, falling oil prices may at last be encouraging consumers to spend their money on other goods.
Meanwhile, Italian inflation actually moved back into positive territory in February -- though only just, at 0.1% -- and some big German states have also recorded positive rates.
London's FTSE100 was down 0.21% at 6,935.41, while in Paris the CAC 40 was off 0.06% at 4,907.57. In Frankfurt the DAX was down 0.09% at 11,316.44. In Greece, the Athens General Index was off 3.54% at 872.58.
In London, Anglo-Spanish airline operator International Consolidated Airlines (ICAGY) was cruising almost 4% higher at 581.5 pence. The owner of British Airways and Spanish airline Iberia said full-year passenger revenues were up 9.6% at €17.8 billion ($19.9 billion), and operating profits were up 95% at €1 billion. Total fuel costs were up 0.6%, despite the falling price per liter, but only because capacity growth was up 9.3%.
IAG CEO Willie Walsh was also able to declare victory in his efforts to turn around Iberia. The Madrid-based carrier made an operating profit of €50 million, compared with a loss of €166 million last year. Walsh also tried to reassure the Irish government that his $1.54 billion bid to take over Irish carrier Aer Lingus (AELGF) would create more jobs in Ireland, not destroy them.
Also in London, Lloyds Banking (LYG) posted a relatively small rise of 0.62% to 78.99 pence a share, after announcing its first dividend since the financial crash. The token 0.75 pence a share dividend had been widely anticipated. Lloyds declared 2014 profit before tax of £1.8 billion ($2.77 billion), up from £0.4 billion in 2013. The bank is still 23.9% owned by the British government, so the taxpayer will get £130 million from the dividend payment.
Meanwhile in Paris, airplane-builder Airbus (EADSY) announced a better-than-expected net profit of €2.34 billion, up from €1.47 billion in 2013, and will pay a dividend of €1.2 a share. Airbus soared 5.98% to €54.72 a share.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.06% at 18,797.94, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.32% to 24,823.29. In China, the Shanghai Composite closed up 0.36% at 3,310.30.