NEW YORK -  Global stock indices finished mainly higher as Wall Street ended split despite healthy bank profits and another record Nasdaq close.

Europe's main stock markets were cheered by a steady opening on Wall Street and solid bank earnings reports from JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America. "The FTSE 100 notched up another all-time high to round off a record-breaking week of gains," said Jasper Lawler at London Capital Group. "Shares of UK-listed banks including Barclays, RBS and HSBC responded positively to the US results." Meanwhile the Euro Stoxx 50 and the CAC 40 in Paris both added 1.2 percent while Frankfurt rose 0.9 percent. However, as afternoon approached in New York, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average began to sputter, dragged lower partly by retail giant Walmart, which saw shares drop 1.2 percent.

Commerce Department figures released early Friday showed retail sales at US department stores fell 0.6 percent in December as consumers increasingly shop online. The Dow finished down less than 0.1 percent at 19,885.73, while the broader S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.5 percent to reach its sixth record finish in seven trading sessions.

Equities had retreated Thursday on investor disappointment over a lack of policy detail from US President-elect Donald Trump, and following allegations of emissions cheating at Fiat Chrysler. Chris Low of FTN Financial said Friday's mixed finish on Wall Street could have been due partly to reduced volume as traders left work early ahead of a US holiday weekend. He also noted bank profits were buoyed by strong trading revenue.

"It has been a very long time since we've seen better-than-expected trading revenues," said Low. Meanwhile, the FTSE's record-breaking run has been driven by sterling weakness due to ongoing uncertainty over Brexit. British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday will set out the long-awaited approach the government will take before triggering article 50, starting a two-year process that will take Britain out of the EU. "If the Prime Minister confirms the UK will leave the single market in a 'Hard Brexit', the British pound could drop below 1.20 against the dollar," LCG's Lawler said.

In the eurozone, French investors appeared to take in their stride news that Renault is being investigated for possible emissions cheating as the so-called "dieselgate" scandal that engulfed German giant Volkswagen spread to other auto makers. But Renault shares took a hit and ended the day 2.9 percent lower. Earlier in Asia, there was muted reaction to end-of-the-year data from China showing the world's number-two economy was still struggling on the trade front.

Hong Kong added 0.5 percent but Shanghai closed down 0.2 percent with little excitement over news that Chinese exports fell more than expected last month, while imports came in largely as expected. For 2016, exports fell 7.7 percent and imports dropped 5.5 percent. "There remain some obstacles facing China's foreign trade development," customs spokesman Huang Songping told reporters, adding the international trading environment was "severe and complex".