Europe Markets

European stocks close lower as dollar rallies; Volkswagen to cut 30,000 jobs

Europe opens higher as USD rallies, bond yields rise on Yellen comments

European stocks closed lower on Friday as rising U.S. bond yields pushed the dollar to a more than 13-and-a-half-year high as investors eyed Federal Reserve member comments and upped bets on a December rate hike.

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended 0.36 percent down, reversing earlier gains. Sectors were mostly lower with Basic Resources deepest in negative territory, down more than 1.9 percent after being hampered by the stronger dollar.

In the U.S., stocks continued lower though the Nasdaq Composite did hit a record high shortly after Friday's open as investors digested Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's strongest hint yet that the central bank was preparing a move in December.

Speaking on Thursday, Yellen told Congress than an increase in interest rates could be "appropriate relatively soon". Any rise in interest rates would also signal that the U.S. economic recovery is gaining momentum.

Added to this, investors see Trump's expansionary fiscal policies as stoking inflation.

This has led to a sell-off in bonds and rising yields. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield hit levels seen last November, while the U.S. dollar also surged. The dollar index – which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies – stood at its highest level since April 2003 on Friday before paring some gains.

William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and vice-chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) stated on Friday that there was "considerable uncertainty" regarding Trump's economic plans.

Strong dollar hits miners

Basic resource stocks fell sharply on the back of the stronger dollar, which makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for buyers paying in other currencies. Precious metal miners Fresnillo and Randgold Resources were both deep in negative territory as the price of gold, which is typically seen as a safe-haven asset, fell due to traders' increase risk appetite.

Elsewhere in the commodities space, the government of Guinea has asked Rio Tinto to explain what it had found in an internal probe that led to the firing of two senior executives linked to payments made to an adviser that helped the miner secure an iron ore project in the country.

VW to cut 30,000 jobs

In other business news, Volkswagen said it planned to cut 30,000 jobs by 2021 at its VW brand to help boost profitability and focus on new areas such as electric and driverless cars following the emissions scandal, according to Reuters. Shares of the German carmaker closed down 0.34 percent.

Airbus shares closed the trading week in negative territory after it announced on Friday that Japanese firm Peach Aviation had ordered 10 of its A320neo jets worth $1.1 billion.

LafargeHolcim, the world's biggest cement maker, announced a 1 billion Swiss franc ($991 million) share buyback plan after it cut its mid-term earnings target and shares ended 1.9 percent down.

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