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European stocks close down on US jobs figures and sterling 'flash crash'

European stocks closed lower on Friday following disappointing U.S. jobs numbers and after a dramatic plunge in sterling early in Asia trading.


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The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.9 percent, but the FTSE 100 index ended the day 0.76 percent higher, helped by mining stocks, as the companies benefit from a weaker pound.


The U.S. added 156,000 jobs in September, missing market expectations, and falling short of August's revised 167,000 figure. This could make the U.S. Federal Reserve more cautious about raising interest rates soon.

Wall Street was trading down on the news with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broaderS&P 500 both down by 0.35 percent and 0.48 percent respectively in afternoon trading.

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Meanwhile, sterling was in focus for investors after the currency nosedived in Asian trade, hitting a fresh three-decade low in what has been described as a "flash crash." The currency tanked as much as 6 percent to $1.1819 and later recovered to hover at the $1.24 handle, according to Reuters data.

Market speculation was rife that the decline was the result of a wrongly entered trade, or "fat finger error," as there has been no dramatic fresh news to justify the pound's swoon.

Asia markets stumbled after the pound's drop and as traders likely took to the sidelines ahead of the key jobs report.

Deutsche bank mulls spin-off

In the banking sector, Deutsche Bank is said to be working on a spin-off of its asset management business to help boost capital, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Shares in the firm came off their session highs but were still in positive territory.

UBI Banca is pushing harder to negotiate an approval from the European Central Bank to buy three of the four banks rescued last year, La Stampa said, sending shares in the Italian lender higher.

Shares of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena were higher after reports that it plans on carrying out its capital increase before the holiday season.

Delta Lloyd rejects NN Group bid

Elsewhere, Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd rejected a takeover bid from rival NN Group saying that the proposal undervalued the company. Shares of NN Group were lower while Delta Lloyd shares were in positive territory.

Shares of E.ON rallied after reports that activist shareholder Cevian is considering taking a 10 percent stake in the German utility.

RWE shares closed 7 percent lower after its subsidiary, Innogy, began life as a public company on Friday.

EasyJet shares fell over 4 percent, hitting their lowest level since early 2013, after a number of brokers cut their price target for the stock.

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