European Stocks Close On Mixed Note After Crucial U.S., European Economic Data

(RTTNews) - European stocks ended on a mixed note on Friday with investors assessing the latest batch of economic data from the region and the U.S. non-farm payrolls report, for clues about interest-rate trajectory.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment in the U.S. surged by 275,000 jobs in February, while economists had expected employment to jump by 200,000 jobs.

The report also said job growth in December and January was downwardly revised to 290,000 and 229,000 jobs, respectively, reflecting a net downward revision of 167,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% in February from 3.7% in January. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to come in unchanged.

The downward revisions and the unexpected increase in the unemployment rate combined with a slowdown in the annual rate of wage growth has added to optimism the Federal Reserve will begin lowering interest rates in June.

The pan European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.02%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 ended 0.43% down, and Germany's DAX settled lower by 0.16%, and France's CAC 40 advanced 0.15%. Switzerland's SMI climbed 0.62%.

Among other markets in Europe, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden and Turkiye closed higher.

Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain ended weak.

In the UK market, DS Smith rallied more than 6% after packaging firm Mondi announced an agreement in principle for a potential all-share offer to acquire its DS Smith for £5.14bn.

Convatec Group gained nearly 4%. Legal & General, BT, Vodafone, Segro, Reckitt Benckiser, Airtel Africa, Land Securities, Unite Group and IMI gained 1 to 2%.

Entain dropped more than 5%. Rentokil Initial, Spirax-Sarco Engineering, St. James's Place, Mondia, GSK and Ashstead lost 2 to 3%. Melrose Industries, Pearson, Admiral Group, Rio Tinto, Fresnillo, Ocado Group, Croda International, HSBC Holdings, Antofagasta, RS Group and Rolls-Royce Holdings also ended notably lower.

In the German market, Symrise, Vonovia, Beiersdorf, Allianz, Covestro, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and Daimler Truck Holding gained 0.9 to 2%.

Deutsche Post, Continental, MTU Aero Engines, Fresenius Medical Care and Deutsche Boerse lost 1.4 to 2.5%.

HelloFresh SE shares slumped 42% as the meal-kit maker cut its 2024 core earnings forecast for the second time in five months and dropped its midterm targets.

In Paris, WorldLine, Edenred, Kering, Teleperformance, BNP Paribas, Essilor, AXA, Renault and Eurofins Scientific gained 1 to 3%.

Thales ended nearly 2% down. Saint Gobain, STMicroElectronics, Carrefour and Pernod Ricard also ended notably lower.

Data from Destatis showed Germany's industrial production expanded in January, rising 1% in the month, in contrast to the 2% fall in December. Output was expected to climb 0.6%. Excluding energy and construction, industrial output gained 1.1% from December.

France's trade deficit increased at the start of the year as exports fell faster than imports, data released by the customs office showed.

The trade deficit widened more-than-expected to EUR 7.4 billion in January from EUR 6.4 billion in December. The shortfall was forecast to rise to EUR 6.5 billion. In the same period last year, the deficit totaled EUR 11.8 billion.

Exports declined 3.1% in January, while imports increased at a comparatively slower rate of 1.1%. On a yearly basis, exports dropped 3%, while imports logged a double-digit fall of 13.1%.

The euro area economy remained unchanged in the fourth quarter, as initially estimated, revised data from Eurostat showed. Gross domestic product flatlined sequentially, following a 0.1% fall in the third quarter. The fourth quarter's rate matched the estimate published on February 14.

On a yearly basis, the economy grew 0.1%, the same pace of growth as seen in the preceding period. Compared to a year ago, employment advanced 1.2% following a 1.4% rise in the prior period.

Germany's producer prices declined sharply in January, falling by 4.4%. In December prices declined 5.1%.

Energy prices plunged 11.7% from a year ago. Lower natural gas prices had the biggest influence on the energy prices. Excluding energy prices, producer prices were 0.5% lower than in January 2023 and 0.3% higher than in December.

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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