European Equity Benchmarks Close Mixed; Investors Boost Utilities, Airline Stocks

The broad-based major European indices closed mixed in Friday's trading session as investors favored utilities and airline stocks.

In economic news, permanent placements continued to rise sharply in June in the U.K., despite the rate of expansion easing slightly since May's 25-month peak, according to IHS Markit. Growth in temporary billings also eased in June, but remained strong overall, said IHS.

"With fewer people currently looking for jobs, employers are having to increase starting salaries to secure the talent they need," said Tom Hadley, IHS Markit's REC director of policy. "This is creating great opportunities for people with in-demand skills who are prepared to change jobs, but it's also putting unsustainable pressure on many businesses."

In Germany, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported production in industry was up 1.2% in May from the previous month. In April, the corrected figure shows an increase of 0.7% (primary +0.8%) from March. In May, production in industry excluding energy and construction was up by 1.3%. Within industry, the production of capital goods increased 2.6%, and the production of consumer goods rose 1.4%. The production of intermediate goods showed a decrease of 0.2%. Energy production was up 2.9% in May, and the production in construction was down 1%.

In equities, airline operator easyJet led the FTSE higher in London, rising 5.4%, followed by energy and services company Centrica, and automobile and aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce Holdings, which gained 2.9% and 2.3% respectively. International Consolidated Airlines Group, water utility Severn Trent, and biotech firm Shire closed 2%, 1.9%, and 1.6% higher respectively.

In Frankfurt, electricity and natural gas providers RWE and E.ON led the DAX into positive territory, rising 2.8% and 2% respectively, followed by airline operator Deutsche Lufthansa, which closed 1.3% higher. Financial services company Allianz, automaker Volkswagen, and semiconductor company Infineon Technologies were up 0.9%, 0.5%, and 0.4% respectively.

In France, output bounced back sharply in the manufacturing industry in May, rising 2.0% after falling 1.3% in April), as well as in the whole industry, according to the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE).

And in Paris, retail company Carrefour, and communications company Publicis Groupe led the CAC lower, falling 4.6% and 4.4% respectively. Steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, management services company Sodexo, and oil company Total dropped 2.9%, 2.5%, and 1.5% respectively. Other major decliners included luxury goods retailer LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and bank Societe Generale, which declined 1.3% and 0.9% each.

The FTSE rose 0.19%, the DAX gained 0.06%, and the CAC-40 fell 0.14%.

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Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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