European Stocks Slightly Lower as Trump Comments on North Korea Rattle Investors

European stocks were mostly lower on Friday amid a slew of earnings and as US President Donald Trump said there was a chance of a major conflict with North Korea even as he preferred a diplomatic resolution to the the tension stemming from the Asian country's nuclear ambitions.

"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.

In economic news, gross domestic product ( GDP ) growth slowed in the first quarter in France, the euro region's second largest economy, to 0.3% from a 0.5% pace in the last three months of 2016, INSEE, the nation's statistics office said. The deceleration was driven by trade as exports dropped and imports growth picked up, the office said.

UK economic growth also slowed sharply last quarter. GDP grew by 0.3% between January and March from the previous quarter, the slowest expansion in a year, the Office for National Statistics ( ONS ) said. The reading marked a decline from 0.7% growth in the final quarter of last year and missed the 0.4% growth rate expected by economists in a poll on

In equities, the British electrical generation company Drax Group rose 7% to the top of Europe's benchmark STOXX 600 still benefiting from closing its acquisition of Luisiana Pellets for $35.4 million, which it revealed on Wednesday.

Barclays fell 4.2% after the lender posted a surprise drop in first-quarter fixed-income trading revenue and income from equities also fell more than expected, Bloomberg reported. RBS, which is majority owned by UK taxpayers, rose 1.8% in London after it returned to profit in the first quarter of the year.

Drugmaker Sanofi gained 1.7% in Paris after reporting a 4% increase in business net income in the first quarter and an 11% rise in reported sales. Carmaker Renault soared 3.6% and telecom company Orange dropped 1.9% a day after reporting earnings.

The Europe-wide STOXX 600 index slid 0.1% on Friday for a second day, and it was 2.5% higher on the week. The euro-region blue-chip STOXX 50 was down less then a tenth of a percent. The FTSE in London fell 0.4% and the DAX in Frankfurt was 0.1% lower. The CAC 40 in Paris bucked the trend and was marginally higher, by less than a tenth of a percent.

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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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