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Europe shares close higher despite mixed data

Friday, 16 Aug 2013 | 11:30 AM ET
European market closes higher
European shares closed higher on Friday after a weak start to the day, despite continued market worries about the end of the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program.

European shares closed higher on Friday after a weak start to the day, despite continued market worries about the end of the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed up 0.3 percent at 1,231.09 points, despite the macroeconomic picture continuing to weigh on investor confidence in Europe and mixed U.S. data.

U.S. consumer prices data that matched expectations, and a fall in weekly jobless claims in the world's biggest economy, increased expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve might start reducing its $85 billion in monthly asset purchases soon.

(Read More: Stocks end near lows, Dow skids 200; major averages lower for August)

But there was good news in Europe, where data showed that euro zone exports increased for the first time in three months, led by a rebound in Germany, while inflation held steady at 1.6 percent. Exports from the area rose at a seasonally adjusted rate of 3 percent in June from May, when they dropped 2.6 per cent, the European Union's statistics office said.

However, despite the FTSE 100 closing up on Friday at 0.2 percent, it still posted its second negative week in succession, after what has been a choppy week in trading. The FTSE closed the week down 1.31 percent.

In Asia, China's benchmark index pared gains on Friday after a sudden burst of buying that saw the index spike 5.6 percent to a two-and-a-half-month high on stimulus rumors and futures expiration. The rest of Asia was broadly lower in response to Shanghai's volatile trade and Wall Street's overnight fall.

(Read More: China stocks pare gains in volatile trade after spiking over 5%)

In other news, violent clashes continue in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood party, protesting the ousting of president Mohamed Morsi, has called for a nationwide "millions' march of anger" on Friday against the military crackdown on their protesters. Over 600 people have been killed, according to the Egyptian ministry of health.

In stocks news, Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were higher by 5.6 percent and 4.17 percent respectively, as gold approached a two-month high and while silver stayed flat at the three-month high reached yesterday.

Shares of Balfour Beatty received a bounce of 8.89 percent after an upgrade by Liberum Capital.

Shares of airline Lufthansa fell 1.5 percent after Morgan Stanley cut its rating to "equal-weight".

Shares of Danish-based shipping company Moeller Maersk climbed by 9.65 percent and led the Euro Stoxx 600 Index as the firm surprised investors by delivering better-than-expected earnings on Friday and lifting its profit target.

(Read More: Moller-Maersk ups outlook as profit beats)

L'Oreal offered to buy Chinese facial mask maker Magic Holdings International, in a move that would put the group in the lead of the fastest growing sector in China's $15 billion skincare market. L'Oreal shares were up 0.66 percent on the news.

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