European stocks set new intraday peaks Friday and closed higher at the end of what was a volatile session.

The headline news item was President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement which, while causing upset among politicians and some business leaders, helped to boost stock prices across the chemicals and automotive sectors.

Other items on the agenda included continued speculation that European officials fear having to wind up Spain's Banco Popular (BPESF) thanks to a seemingly insurmountable pile of nonperforming loans.

Popular stock fell more than 15% for the second day running, taking total losses for the week close to 40%, as investors unwound earlier bets that the bank would eventually manage to turn itself around.

The FTSE 100 closed 0.05% higher, at 7,546, after having hide tailed it back from a new record high of 7,598 earlier in the London session.

Frankfurt's DAX index was the star performer, given its heavy weighting to chemicals and automotive firms, with a 1.25% gain to close at 12,822. It too scaled a new peak during the session.

In Paris the CAC 40 eked out a more modest gain, although still ahead of London, when it rose 0.47% to close at 5,343.

Automotive supplier Valeo (VLEEY) topped the CAC 40 with a gain of nearly 3%, given its gearing to both traditional automotive and new-tech auto supply chains.

In southern Europe, stocks were mixed once again, although this time the IBEX in Madrid eked out a small gain while the FTSE MIB slipped in Milan.

In London, Randgold (GOLD) and Fresnillo (FNLPF) were among the top gainers on the FTSE 100 after a strong showing from gold prices, which were boosted by 1% due to the onset of renewed geopolitical uncertainty.

Glaxo (GSK) stock was flat Friday after its HIV joint venture ViiV filed a risky application in the U.S. and EU for a new combination tablet, continuing its push for dominance in the key integrase inhibitors part of the HIV field, just days after Gilead (GILD) achieved a key milestone of its own.

In Frankfurt chemicals firms Bayer (BAYRY) and BASF (BASFY) , as well as industrial and airline stocks Siemens (SIEGY) and Lufthansa (DLAKY) , littered the top of the DAX index, all with gains of more than 1.5%.

Uniper (UNPRF) stock also gained after broker Berenberg said it is a buy regardless of whether or not a bid is forthcoming for the German utility, which was this week reported to be a target of Finland's Fortum (FOJCF) .