European markets close higher; United Internet jumps almost 14%

European markets closed higher on Friday as investors digested the latest batch of corporate earnings and reacted to some fresh deal-making activity.


The FTSE closed up 0.66 percent higher at 7,386; the DAX ended up 0.41 percent at 12,711; the CAC finished higher by 0.41 percent at 5,383. All major bourses were little changed on the week, reflecting the muted impact of the election of pollsters' favorite Emmanuel Macron has on markets following Sunday's French election.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed marginally higher, though sectors remained mixed.

Media stocks were among the best performers, propelled higher on reports French media group, Vivendi, had approached Havas with an indicative offer to acquire Group Bollore's stake in the Paris-based advertising and public relations firm. As a result, shares of Havas rocketed up more than 9 percent, while Vivendi shares moved more than 4 percent higher.

Meanwhile, telecoms and healthcare were also ended Friday, up more than 2 percent and 1 percent respectively.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca ended trading more than 9 percent higher following the news that it had successfully trialed a new cancer drug. Meanwhile, German internet service provider, United Internet, closed at the top of the benchmark after reporting plans to acquire a majority stake in Drillisch in order to create a stronger challenger to other domestic telecommunication companies in Germany. Its shares closed up almost 14 percent higher on Friday.

On the other end, basic resources were seen lower, down 1.5 percent, as struggling oil prices continued to weigh on the sector.

Richemont reported worse-than-expected results on Friday in which the Geneva-based company said a volatile trading environment had caused its net profits to slip more than anticipated. However, the world's second-largest luxury goods group noted an uptick in sales growth towards the end of its fiscal year, in large part attributable to easier comparisons and support from a sustainable recovery in mainland China, Reuters reported. It ended the day down 5 percent.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. stocks traded mixed, dragged down by retail earnings.

G-7 meeting remains in focus

Germany's Federal Statistics Office published provisional gross domestic product (GDP) data on Friday which showed Europe's leading economy grew by 0.6 percent in the first-quarter.

Oil prices were stable on Friday as investors anticipated OPEC-led supply cuts to extend beyond the middle of the year. The 13-member cartel is expected to announce whether production cuts will continue at its meeting on May 25.

Elsewhere at the G-7 meeting in Italy, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin emphasized the Trump administration's excitement after the U.S. and China announced a series of trade measures aimed at improving the trade balance between Washington and Beijing. The official G-7 meeting agenda focuses on inequality, tax laws, cybersecurity and preventing the funding of terrorism.

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