European shares closed out the week in the red Friday as investors prepared for the final trading days before next week's U.S. presidential elections.
The weekly close came at the tail end of an eventful week for both the U.K. economy and London stock markets, which also faced legal developments in the Brexit saga -- something that sparked the strongest rally for the pound since the global financial crisis.
The U.S. dollar has traded lower for much of the past five days, dipping below 97 against a basket of global currencies. Investors sought comfort in safe-haven investments such as the Swiss franc, the European single currency and gold bullion.
The pound surged more than 3% against the greenback after the U.K. High Court ruled Thursday that Prime Minister Theresa May must seek parliamentary approval before triggering the country's exit from the European Union.
The pound was quoted at $1.2532 in late Friday trading, the highest level since the so-called "Flash Crash" of Oct. 7 and rounding out the best week for the beleaguered currency since 2009.
The gains, however, helped push London's FTSE 100 index -- whose companies earn more than 75% of their revenues outside the U.K. -- significantly lower, with the benchmark falling more than 100 points Friday to cap a 5-day decline of nearly 5%.
The week's price action from the FTSE 100 saw its year-to-date gains almost halved, down to 7%, and left it trailing Continental stock markets for the week.
In Germany, the DAX fell nearly 4%. In France, the CAC 40 dipped nearly 3%.