Europe Markets

Europe markets close mixed on political jitters; French election; Software AG up 8%


European markets closed mixed on Friday after a suspected terrorist attack in France two days before a key presidential vote.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended marginally higher with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions. The European stocks benchmark was little changed on the week.

The FTSE 100 ended the week 2.8 percent lower after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May called a surprise general election. The DAX slipped 0.5 percent and the CAC 40 dipped 0.17 percent for the week.

Basic resources stocks moved higher on Friday after positive earnings reports in the sector. An advance for Chinese steel companies appeared to offset the impact of a trade investigation into China from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Banking stocks also moved higher on Friday as investors prepared for Europe's heavyweights to report earnings next week. Elsewhere, Trump ordered the Treasury to find and reduce tax burdens and review post-financial crisis reforms into banks and insurance companies.

Looking at individual stocks, Software AG ended at the top of the European benchmark, up by around 8 percent. This followed the company's latest earnings report which showed an acceleration in its digital business.

Atkins WS also jumped over 6 percent on Friday after the Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin agreed to buy the engineering firm for $2.67 billion, Reuters reported.

Danone was at the opposite end of the index after reporting weak sales figures in the first three months of the year. Its shares were down 2.4 percent on Friday.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average and broader S&P 500 index continued under pressure as investors eyed a closely contested four-way race in the French presidential election.

Politics and data

Investors are seemingly focused on earnings reports on Friday, but politics and fresh data are also firmly on the radar. One police officer was killed in central Paris and two were wounded after a gunman opened fire on Thursday night. The shooting raised further concerns ahead of what's described as one of the most uncertain presidential elections in French history. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

A poll released Friday showed the centrist Emmanuel Macron gaining further momentum against the far-right leader Marine Le Pen with around a 2.5 percentage point lead going into the first round (the poll was conducted before Thursday's shooting).

In terms of data, flash euro zone composite PMI (purchasing managers' index) came in at 56.7 in April, compared to 56.4 in March. The report beat expectations of 56.3 in a Reuters poll of economists.

Elsewhere, finance ministers and central bank governors of the G-20 are gathered in the U.S., where the International Monetary Fund and World Bank carry on with their spring meetings.

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