Italy's political turmoil pushes European shares lower, while Japan stocks are higher

On Friday European shares fell leading them to post a second straight week of losses, as worries about the stability of Italy's government rattled investors and concerns about Sino-U.S. trade tensions lingered.

Markets have recently been sensitive to political developments in Rome with Italian bond yields jumping each time there were doubts about the soundness of the government. After the leader of the ruling League party Matteo Salvini pulled his support for the country's governing coalition on Thursday, Milan's FTMIB index (FTMIB) tumbled 1.6% with Italian banks (FTIT8300) hardest hit.

Also was reported that Washington is delaying a decision about licenses for U.S. firms to restart trade with Huawei Technologies, making investors nervous about a ramp-up of bickering in the ongoing trade dispute.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (STOXX) fell 0.2% after recording its best day in almost two months on Thursday, following upbeat trade data from China and a steadying of its currency.

Helping to limit losses on the benchmark was the healthcare sector (SXDP), boosted by Novo Nordisk (CO:NOVOb), which beat quarterly operating profit forecasts and raised its 2019 sales outlook.

Meanwhile, Japan stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Paper & Pulp, Railway & Bus and Real Estate sectors led shares higher. At the close in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.44%. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 1920 to 1508, and 265 ended unchanged.