Europe Markets

Europe markets close higher; Pearson up 12%; French election eyed


European markets closed higher on Friday afternoon after a jobs report in the U.S. beat analysts' expectations.

The pan-European closed 0.65 percent higher on Friday, with most sectors edging higher. The benchmark was 1.72 percent higher on the week. The German DAX jumped 2.15 percent on the week and the French CAC also rose 2.93 percent. The CAC 40 in Paris closed at a new nine and half year high and the DAX in Frankfurt closed at a record high.

Basic resources stocks were the best performers after copper prices recovered from a five-month low.

On the other hand, insurance fell into negative territory Friday as the future of London's financial center faced uncertainty. Early Friday Goldman Sachs' CEO told the BBC that the risk of Brexit was likely to hurt the U.K.'s financial hub and could prompt the relocation of jobs at the world's second-largest investment bank.

However, banks recovered after lunchtime following news that the U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in April, which supports arguments favoring a tighten monetary policy by the Federal Reserve. The U.S. jobs report led Wall Street higher, with the Nasdaq composite up by 0.25 percent to trade within striking distance of its all-time intraday high.

Oil and gas also recovered on Friday afternoon as oil prices began to soften earlier losses.

Elsewhere, telecoms made a slight recovery, though hampered by losses for Telefonica and Inmarsat. The pair were seen at the bottom of the benchmark, down 6.9 percent and 7.7 percent respectively. The latter made losses after shareholders voted against the company's pay policies, prompting a remuneration review Thursday.

Retail, travel and leisure were also trading higher Friday. Marks and Spencer was near the top of the benchmark, up 4.9 percent, after announcing former Asda boss Archie Norman as its new chairman and former Halfords CEO Jill McDonald as the head of its clothing arm.

Looking at individual stocks, shares in the education group Pearson spiked 12 percent on new restructuring plans, including the potential sale of its U.S. arm. The firm hit the top of the European benchmark.

Euro jumps

The euro was trading near six-months high Friday as the latest development in French politics puts Macron within close reach of the keys to the Elysee Palace on the final day of campaigning. Prosecutors in Paris opened an investigation into election hacking Thursday after Macron filed complaints about online rumors that claimed that he had a secret Caribbean bank account.

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