European stocks finished higher Friday, with investors reassessing the prospect of the U.K. leaving the European Union in the wake of a British lawmaker's killing.
The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, 1.40% rose 1.4% to 325.76, with all sectors pushing higher. Bank shares were leading the financial sector SXFR, 2.74% higher after being hit in recent sessions on concerns the banking industry will suffer in the event of a "Brexit."
Stocks moved higher after campaigning was suspended for a second day by both the "leave" and "remain" sides of the Brexit debate following the killing of lawmaker Jo Cox on Thursday. Cox, a 41-year-old Labour Party member, was a vocal supporter of the U.K. remaining in the EU.
Before Cox's death, markets "had been increasingly concerned by a vote to leave and this has pulled a recovery in sterling and equities," while "safe haven plays which were so strong yesterday morning have receded with the yen and gold both corrective once more," Perry said.
Shares of U.S. companies with a higher-than-average reliance on British sales could face a rude awakening should the U.K. vote to exit the European Union on Thursday.
Stocks finished the week lower on so-called Brexit worries and in the wake of a June Federal Reserve policy meeting that underscored a slower approach to rate increases given shaky economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.33% declined 1.1% for the week, while the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.33% shed 1.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.92% fell 1.9%. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq logged a second week of losses.
Asian stocks gained as some fears that Britain would vote to leave the European Union abated on Monday, boosting a recovery in both sterling and investors' taste for risk assets.
Safe-haven assets and currencies like gold, government bonds and the yen retreated.
Australian stocks added 1.2 percent and South Korea's Kospi .KS11 rose 1.1 percent.
Japan's Nikkei .N225 climbed more than 2 percent, helped by a retreat in the recently bullish yen.
"Those who were risk averse are reversing their positions," said Yoshinori Shigemi, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Tokyo.
"Sentiment was extremely negative last week, but it's recovering now, though we should not be overly optimistic."
Three British opinion polls ahead of the EU membership referendum on June 23 showed the "Remain" camp recovering some momentum, although the overall picture remained one of an evenly split electorate.