Europe shares extend losses to close down

Europe shares extended losses on Friday to close lower, tracking declines on Wall Street after jobs data showed a better-than-expected gain in payrolls but a fall in earnings.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 index closed down by around 1.5 percent on the day and 1.2 percent on the week.

All major sector stock indexes and bourses bar the Athens Composite closed lower on the day.

US jobs beats


U.S. data showed that the labor market kept pace in December, with 252,000 jobs created in the last month of the year and the unemployment rate dropping to 5.6 percent. Both these indicators came in better than expected.

However, hourly earnings unexpectedly declined by 5 cents an hour.

"We had better-than-expected payrolls gains, a drop in unemployment, but we didn't see any wage growth," David Kelly, chief market strategist at JPMorgan Funds, said.

Wall Street declined on the news, dragging European shares, which were already trading down, still lower.

Shares were also weighed down by concerns about France, as investors tracked events in Paris after the massacre at the office of satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo." According to media reports, the two suspects who launched an assault on a factory in Northern France where the suspects were believed to be holding a hostage were killed by police on Friday.

Santander falls 14%

In Europe, the banking sector was the major laggard. A capital hike by Santander on Thursday left analysts pondering whether other lenders could follow suit. The Spanish bank closed down around 14 percent on Friday, with rivals like BMPS, Unicredit and Banco Popolare also posted heavy losses.

Expectations have also resurfaced that the European Central Bank (ECB) could announce further aggressive stimulus measures – namely sovereign bond-buying – following dismal inflation data for the euro zone. This has buoyed European markets this week.

Fresh details on Friday suggested the ECB has discussed a 500 billion euro ($593 billion) quantitative easing program, according to a source at the central bank. No decision has been taken, the source told CNBC, but the program would involve purchasing countries' investment-grade rated sovereign debt.

On the data front, France's November industrial output showed a fall of 0.3 percent, missing market expectations. Spain's data was unchanged from a previous figure and Germany's showed a monthly decline of 0.1 percent for November.

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