European stocks dropped sharply by Friday's close after investors learned that the U.S. had only added 38,000 jobs in May, well below Wall Street expectations of 162,000.
The pan-European STOXX 600 came off session lows, but ended down 0.9 percent provisionally. The index—which was higher in earlier trade—fell following the U.S. jobs data. On the week, the STOXX 600 finished down 2.4 percent provisionally.
Wall Street was initially expecting to see a figure of 162,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate hold steady at 5.0 percent. However the nonfarm payrolls number sent markets spinning after the figure came in at just 38,000 jobs. The headline unemployment fell to 4.7 percent.
"The U.S. nonfarm payroll data was crazy and completely unbelievable and this is the last set of important data before the Fed meeting. When you look at the data set, it really boggles your mind because the unemployment rate has ticked lower. The productivity picture is even more confusing as it is not increasing," Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Forex U.K., said in a note.
Elsewhere, European stocks have been digesting the latest news from the European Central Bank, who chose to leave rates on hold on Thursday as expected, while slightly upping its growth forecast for 2016. On the data front, the latest European services PMIs came out, with Markit's composite PMI output for the euro zone coming in at 53.1, up from April's 53.0, indicating economic growth remained subdued.
In the oil space, both Brent and U.S. WTI came under pressure on Friday, hovering around $49.50 and $48.60 respectively, at Europe's close. Prices have been reacting to the U.S. jobs report, along with news from OPEC which saw its members fail to agree on output targets.
Despite earlier gains, energy stocks closed in the red. BP however ended 1.5 percent higher after the oil major agreed late on Thursday, to pay $175 million to shareholders over Gulf spill claims.
Aside from the nonfarm payrolls data, Europe's basic resources outperformed as the sector was lifted by a solid rise in metal prices and a weaker U.S. dollar. Shares of Glencore, BHP Billiton and Anglo American all finished trade 3.5 percent or more up. Fresnillo and Randgold Resources soared ahead, closing up 7.6 and 6.8 percent respectively, as precious metal prices rallied on the back of the jobs report.
Germany's RWE popped 4.7 percent, after Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded its stock to "buy", according to Reuters who cited traders.
Meanwhile in France, Accor popped 6.7 percent. The French hotel group was in focus after a French media report said that China's Jin Jiang was planning to raise its stake in the firm. Accor declined to comment on the rumor.
Near the bottom of Europe's benchmarks was Airbus which slipped 3.5 percent. This comes after the CEO at Qatar Airways said it had cancelled its first Airbus A320neo jet and could walk away from more, due to delays in deliveries caused by engine problems, Reuters reported.
Indivior was the STOXX 600's top performer, jumping over 36 percent. This comes after the pharmaceuticals firm received a positive outcome in a patent litigation case for its key Suboxone Film. Jefferies said this represented a "watershed moment" for the firm.
At the bottom of Europe's benchmarks included Bilfinger, off over 9 percent, and many of Europe's banks, in light of the U.S. jobs data.
Correction: This story has been amended with a corrected quote from Naeem Aslam at Think Forex UK to show the unemployment ticked lower.