Europe Markets

Europe markets close sharply lower after US jobs report

Europe markets close sharply lower after US jobs report

European stocks closed sharply lower on Friday, as the latest U.S. non-farm payrolls report boosted investors' fears that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates at its meeting later this month.

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed around 2.5 percent lower, extending losses after the jobs report, with all major bourses and down more than 2 percent.

The French CAC 40 closed down 2.8 percent, the British FTSE 100 was down 2.4 percent and the German DAX closed unofficially 2.5 percent lower

Official data from the U.S. on Friday showed that 173,000 jobs were created in August, lower than the expected 220,000 jobs. However, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent, lower than the expected 5.2 percent.

The fall in unemployment was seen as increasing the likelihood of the Fed hiking interest rates when it meets in around two weeks' time.

This data hit U.S. stocks on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging triple digits.

Swiss stocks slightly outperformed, with the SMI closing down 1.4 percent. This came after the country posted the biggest decline in consumer prices in 56 years. Consumer prices fell 1.4 percent on the previous year, hit by the strong Swiss franc and low oil prices.

People queue at a currency exchange office in Geneva on January 15, 2015.
Swiss consumer prices fall most in 56 years

Europe's declines mimicked Asian stock markets, which also moved lower on Friday, as investors awaited the nonfarm payrolls report.

Chinese markets remained closed for a public holiday, while Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index clawed back some losses in the final hour of trading to finish at its lowest level since August 26.

Airlines take off

Back in Europe, airlines were some of the top performers on Friday, as the oil price remained under pressure. The highest flier of all was Lufthansa, which ended around 5 percent higher after the company's CEO confirmed its profit targets in an interview with Reuters.

Brent crude oil for October delivery slipped back below $50 per barrel on Friday, with U.S. crude edging back down towards $46 per barrel.

Oil stocks underperformed as a result, with Seadrill, for instance, ending down nearly 7 percent.

On the other hand, shares of Neopost soared as much as 12 percent, to the top of benchmarks, after the manufacturer of postage and mailroom equipment reported first half sales that beat expectations.