Insurers help drive European shares to fresh 2-month high
LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Robust insurer earnings helped drive European shares to a two-month high on Friday, while mixed U.S. jobs data supported the view the Federal Reserve may be more cautious about cutting back on its economic stimulus.
The STOXX Europe 600 Insurance index saw solid gains, up 1 percent, with Europe's No. 2 insurer AXA ahead 2.2 percent after forecast-beating results. Peer Allianz , whose operating profit grew more strongly than expected, rose 0.8 percent.
The FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed up 0.2 percent at 1,224.00, its highest close since May 30.
The key U.S. jobs report showed non-farm payrolls rose by 162,000 in July, below expectations, although the unemployment rate fell.
That mixed data caused a period of index volatility, after the release as investors considered what it may mean for the timing and scope of any pullback in Fed stimulus, before it ended close to its pre-data release level.
"I think the markets have not quite shrugged it off but they really aren't that fazed by it... Maybe this means that we'll get an extra couple of months of QE (quantitative easing)," David Jones, chief market strategist at IG, said.