European stocks finished firmly higher Friday, as the tech group tracked their U.S. counterparts, following Apple Inc.’s record surge on Thursday, which helped to buoy overall market sentiment.
However, a disappointing update on retail sales in the eurozone was seen putting in doubt inflation hitting the European Central Bank’s target.
How markets are moving
The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +0.65% rose by 0.7% at 389.16, the gauge’s first gain in the past three days. On Thursday, the pan-European index dropped 0.8%, as stocks were dragged lower by signs of heightened trade tension between the U.S. and China.
For the week, the benchmark lost 0.7%, snapping a series of four straight weekly wins for the benchmark, according to FactSet.
Germany’s DAX 30 index DAX, +0.55% closed 0.6% higher to 12,615.76, after sliding 1.5% on Thursday on trade fears and disappointing financial updates. The German index logged a weekly decline of 1.9%—its first such drop since the week ended June 29.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UKX, +1.10% rose 1.1% to 7,659.10, erasing all of Thursday’s 1% drop and representing its best day since June 27, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The British blue-chip gauge registered a weekly loss of 0.6%—its steepest weekly decline since the period ended June 29.
In France, the CAC 40 index PX1, +0.33% rose 0.3% to reach 5,478.98, but booked a weekly decline of about 0.6%.
Meanwhile, Italy’s FTSE MIB I945, +0.80% put on 0.8% to 21,586.85, after stumbling out of the gate to start the session and ending down 1.7% Thursday. Those moves come amid government budget discussions that have rattled investors’ confidence in the region. The Italian equity benchmark posted a weekly decline of 1.7%. Spain’s IBEX 35 IBEX, +0.43% meanwhile, advanced by 0.4% to 9,739.80, registering a 1% drop at Thursday’s close, with that helping produce a 1.3% fall over the 5-session trading period.
The euro EURUSD, +0.0000% fetched $1.1575, down 0.1%, from $1.1585 late Thursday in New York.
What’s driving markets
European trading appeared to be taking its tone from the U.S., where cheers for Apple Inc. AAPL, +0.42% surpassing $1 trillion in market value as a publicly traded company helped lift the technology and internet-related sector and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.00% which momentarily dulled worries about trade and tariffs Thursday. The Stoxx Europe 600 Technology Index FX8, +0.57% rose by 0.6% on Friday.
Despite that, the U.S.-China tensions are still on investors’ radar, with few signs that President Donald Trump’s administration will ease off on its threat Wednesday to more than double proposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
The U.S. nonfarm-payroll report showed that 157,000 jobs were created in July, weaker than the 195,000 forecast by economists polled by MarketWatch. However, the reading harbored signs that the world’s second-largest economy remains on a strong footing, including a increases to earlier monthly figures and a drop in unemployment to 3.9% from 4% in June.
Among techs, BE Semiconductor Industries NV BESI, +4.56% shares rose 5%, while sensor developer AMS AG AMS, +3.94% added 4.6%. Silicon wafer maker Siltronic AG WAF, +2.32% put on 2.2%, and chip company ASM International NV ASM, +1.97% added 2%. STMicroelectronics STM, +1.23% moved 1.3% higher.
But packaging-and-paper company Mondi PLC MNDI, +7.92% led the advancers, up 7.9% after reporting higher profit in a well-received earnings report.
At the other end, the decliners were led by William Hill PLC WMH, -8.11% sliding 8.1%. The British bookmaker swung to a pretax loss as it booked a charge related to a cap on stakes on betting terminals.
IAG IAG, -2.22% shares lost 2.3% after the British Airways parent’s North American per-seat unit revenue fell, missing expectations for a rise.
Official figures for services activity in the eurozone in July fell short of forecasts. The purchasing managers index came in at 54.2, compared with 54.4 expected and 55.2 the previous month. The composite PMI, a combined reading on services and manufacturing, was at 54.3, in line with forecasts but below June’s 54.9. A level above 50 signifies expansion.
Eurozone retail sales were up 0.3% in June on the month and up 1.3% on the year, Eurostat said Friday. Growth of 0.4% compared with May and 1.4% on 2017 was expected, in a setback for the European Central Bank’s inflation aim.
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