Euro Indexes End Mixed, Oil Stocks Gain
European stocks ended the week mixed Friday, having struggled to find direction throughout the session. The major European indexes marked a loss for the week’s trading as the specter of a recession in the U.S. continued to sap investor sentiment.
The lack of overall direction was mirrored in the U.S., where stocks hovered largely unchanged on the day.
Energy related stocks made the best of the choppy trading, however, as the price of oil hit $90 a barrel on expectations of a cold snap in the US. Miners also did well.
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical and bank stocks fell as London-listed drug maker GlaxoSmithKline was downgraded by Fitch Ratings after it warned on 2008 earnings Thursday.
Fears over the health of the U.S. economy and the spreading of the credit crunch still remained a key concern, with some analysts saying any recovery is likely to be short-lived.
"The fundamental themes are still there, still a lack of confidence in economic figures and also increasingly in the corporate figures, with the likes of Glaxo," Justin Urquhart Stewart, a director at 7 Investment Management, told Reuters.
"Any rebound we see today is going to be pretty thin stuff without much backbone."
Alcatel Lucent's shares rose 0.2 percent despite the fact that it gave a grim outlook and suspended its dividend.
Construction group Sacyr Vallehermoso rose 3 percent after a newspaper report that a French-backed group of banks and insurers were in talks to buy its one third stake in Eiffage.
French construction group Lafarge rose 1.5 percent after a newspaper report said investment group GBL may raise its stake to 18 percent and possibly to 25 percent.
The rise in crude oil futures helped push up shares in BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell, which rose between 0.6 and 2 percent.
-- Reuters contributed to this report