Europe Markets

European markets close lower as oil stocks weigh; sterling falls; G-7 meeting in focus


European bourses closed lower on Friday as losses in energy companies weighed down major bourses.

The pan-European ended 0.2 percent lower with most major bourses and sectors in negative territory. The European benchmark, French CAC and the German DAX were all little changed on the week.

The FTSE 100 was the standout performer as it closed up 0.4 percent to hit a fresh record high. Sterling's fall to 10-day lows helped boost the stock market on Friday on news the U.K.'s governing Conservative Party had slipped in the polls. British voters are set to cast their votes in the general election on June 8. The U.K.'s blue-chip index was also up by around 0.7 percent for the trading week.

Oil and gas stocks were the worst performing on Friday as traders digested the extension of production cuts from OPEC and some non-OPEC members. On Thursday the group announced from its Vienna headquarters that it would extend oil supply caps of 1.8 million barrels per day for a further nine months. Despite the extension being the base-case scenario for the market, traders seemed disappointed with the level and duration of pledged cuts.

Oil prices slumped more than 4 percent immediately after the deal was announced on Thursday but were trading higher on Friday. The oil and gas sector was down more than 1 percent as Saipem, ENI, OMV and Technipfmc all contracted around 2 percent lower.

Financial services and banks were also both down more than 0.6 percent. Societe Generale, Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank were all lower by more than 1.5 percent.

Media stocks were the best performing on Friday, up 0.57 percent. Italian media group Mediaset led the gains and was placed near the top of the European benchmark.

Meanwhile, on Wall Street, stocks continued little changed ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. The Dow Jones industrial average fell marginally, with 3M contributing the most losses and Boeing the most gains. The S&P 500 inched down just 0.07 percent, while the Nasdaq composite moved 0.03 percent lower.

G-7 meeting in focus

With no corporate results on the agenda Friday, investors are casting their eyes to Sicily, Italy, where G-7 leaders will be meeting to discuss matters including trade and climate change. European leaders will be keen to bridge an apparent policy gap with U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, the president came to a head with NATO members, arguing that they must do more to fulfill contribution requirements.

Across the Atlantic, the Trump administration faces its latest wave of scrutiny after the president's son-in-law and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner was reportedly placed under investigation over his alleged ties with Russia.

Meanwhile, U.K. political parties are to resume election campaigning four days after a deadly terror attack hit the city of Manchester. The U.K. temporarily ceased intelligence sharing with the U.S. on Thursday after information was leaked to the U.S. press. However, sharing resumed early Friday.

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