- Earnings remain in focus in Europe, with the world's largest shipping firm Maersk reporting Friday, along with Allianz, Vonovia and the London Stock Exchange.
- The closely-watched U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for July is due at 1:30 p.m. London time.
LONDON — European markets closed mixed on Friday as investors monitored a fresh round of corporate earnings and the global spread of the delta Covid-19 variant.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended up 0.02%, with the banking index adding 2% to lead gains, while health care stocks fell 1%.
Shares in Asia-Pacific were also mixed in Friday's trade as rising Covid cases continued to weigh on sentiment, while investors awaited the release of a key jobs report from the U.S. Labor Department.
Stateside, U.S. stocks tied to the economic recovery rose after a stronger-than-expected jobs report on Friday. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 943,000 for the month while the unemployment rate dropped to 5.4%.
Earnings in focus
Maersk, the world's largest container shipping firm, has posted a sharp increase in second-quarter earnings as congestions and bottlenecks continue to drive up shipping rates.
The Danish giant reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $5.1 billion, a 200% increase from the $1.7 billion reported in the same period last year. Maersk shares were 0.5% on Friday afternoon.
German insurer Allianz beat second-quarter profit expectations with a 2.225 billion euro ($2.6 billion) net income, also raising its outlook and announcing a 750 million euro share buyback program.
Allianz shares climbed 2.2% by mid-afternoon, while London Stock Exchange and Banco BPM both climbed 6% after earnings reports.
At the bottom of the European blue chip index, German manufacturer Rational fell 5.8%.
In other corporate news, German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp on Thursday announced that it has agreed to sell its infrastructure unit to German investment company FMC Beteiligungs KG for an undisclosed fee, a key part of its restructuring plan.
On the data front, U.K. starting salaries for permanent jobs rose by the most on record last month as employers struggled to recruit in light of the pandemic, according to a survey published Friday.
German industrial output fell unexpectedly by 1.3% in June, its second consecutive monthly decline, according to the Federal Statistics Office.
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