LONDON - European stock markets closed mostly higher, with Paris boosted by a strong rise in L'Oreal's shares and London helped by a weaker pound.

Wall Street gyrated either side of unchanged leading up to midday in New York, with dealers reporting that North Korean threats of an H-bomb test were rattling investors' nerves. Fiat Chrysler shares rose close to four percent in New York, lifted by speculation that Korean carmaker Hyundai is interested in taking over the US-Italian company. Asian stock markets earlier turned lower as investors cashed in at the end of a mostly positive week.

The dollar meanwhile weakened against the euro and yen, with analysts questioning the chances of a third US interest rate hike this year.

Shares in French cosmetics giant L'Oreal jumped nearly three percent as investors bet on a possible ownership change at the company following the death Wednesday of the French cosmetic company's heiress Liliane Bettencourt, who was 94. As L'Oreal's principal shareholder, Bettencourt was the 14th richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine, which estimated her net worth in March at $39.5 billion.

"The death of Liliane Bettencourt opens the door for Nestle to up their stake in L'Oreal," brokers Liberum said in a note to clients Friday. But it added: "There is a lot of speculation at this stage: a possible scenario is that Nestle may acquire L'Oreal and there are other rumours that L'Oreal may buy back part of its stake from Nestle." Nestle's shares were slightly down in Zurich closing trade.

The pound slipped after a key speech by British Prime Minister Theresa May which dealers said offered no new approaches to securing a favourable Brexit deal. The currency's weakness, in turn, boosted shares in exporters listed on the London stock exchange, causing the FTSE index to outperform its European peers. Focus in Asia was on renewed geopolitical worries after North Korea said it might consider testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific.

Rikiya Takebe, senior strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said the possibility of such a test "prompted risk-off sentiment" in the currency market. Dealers headed into the weekend a little subdued also after a second downgrade of China's debt rating. The agency also slashed Hong Kong's prime AAA rating Friday. Investors will be keeping an eye this weekend on speeches by top Fed officials, hoping they will give some clues about the central bank's thoughts on interest rates.

On oil markets, prices were underpinned by mild optimism on the impact of an ongoing production cut agreement, and its possible renewal. At a meeting at OPEC headquarters in Vienna of a committee reviewing implementation of the agreement Friday, Russia's energy minister said he was in favour of continuing cooperation with the OPEC oil cartel as their joint accord to cap output bears fruit in boosting the price of crude.