European stocks close higher on earnings; US nonfarms rise 157,000

  • Regional banks Credit Agricole and Royal Bank of Scotland report earnings.
  • U.S. nonfarm payrolls grow by 157,000, lower than expected, while unemployment falls to 3.9 percent.
  • Sterling sags after BOE's Carney warns of "uncomfortably high" risk of no deal between U.K. and Europe.

Stocks in Europe moved higher Friday as investors digested further corporate earnings and news that Apple's valuation had hit $1 trillion.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 was provisionally higher by 0.67 percent with almost every sector rising supported by solid corporate results.

Tech stocks were among the gainers, benefiting from the momentum surrounding Apple. The tech giant saw its market valuation hit the $1 trillion mark on Thursday — boosting the S&P and the Nasdaq.

In other corporate news, Mondi shares rose 7.9 percent after first-half results. Royal Bank of Scotland rose 2.9 percent after reporting its latest results. The bank said it was on track to deliver its first dividend in 10 years. French lender Credit Agricole also saw shares jumping in early trade after reporting a 6.4 percent rise in net profit. Shares in the bank rose 2.55 percent.

William Hill fell to the bottom of the European benchmark, down by 8.14 percent. The company reported a pretax loss for the first half of the year, saying this was caused by new laws on betting terminals. William Hill also announced Friday that it is expanding into the U.S.

Data

Stateside, nonfarm payrolls grew by 157,000, lower than expected, while U.S. unemployment fell a tenth of a percentage point to 3.9 percent. Analysts had forecast an increase of 190,000. The data nevertheless reflected a strong U.S. labor market.

On Wall Street, stocks opened little changed as trade war fears weighed on sentiment. China said Friday it was preparing retaliatory measures against U.S. tariffs, targeting $60 billion worth of U.S. goods with import duties of between 5 percent and 25 percent.

Back in Europe, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is set to meet French President Emmanuel Macron at his official summer residence in an attempt to bolster support for her Brexit plan.

Meanwhile, sterling briefly fell below $1.30 on Friday after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said in an interview that there was an "uncomfortably high" risk of a no-Brexit deal.

Euro zone retail sales grew for a second consecutive month in June, despite a pick-up in energy prices. The Eurostat said Friday that retail sales rose 0.3 percent in June from May and 1.2 percent higher on the year. Separately, euro zone business growth fell sightly in the month of July compared to June.