Markets

European shares log best month since November 2020 as investors digest earnings, economic data

Key Points
  • Economic growth in the euro zone accelerated in the second quarter, official figures showed Friday, despite the escalating gas crisis and record-high inflation.
  • Standard Chartered, Santander, Renault, Air France-KLM, BNP Paribas, AstraZeneca, Engie and Swiss Re are among the major companies reporting earnings before the bell on Friday.

LONDON — European markets closed the month higher on Friday as investors digested a fresh swathe of corporate earnings and key economic data out of the euro zone.


The Stoxx 600 climbed 1.3%, with oil and gas stocks climbing 2.9% to lead the gains as almost all sectors finished in positive territory, apart from health care, which slipped 0.4%.

The pan-European benchmark has risen 6.3% in July, logging its best month since November 2020.

Economic growth in the euro zone accelerated in the second quarter, official figures showed Friday, despite the escalating gas crisis and record-high inflation.

The 19-member bloc posted a 0.7% rise in GDP, exceeding expectations for growth of 0.2% and contrasting sharply with the negative annualized readings out of the United States in the first and second quarter.

In Asia-Pacific, shares closed mixed overnight, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropping more than 2% as tech shares took a hit. Mainland Chinese shares also pulled back after Chinese leaders on Thursday signaled Beijing is unlikely to try to boost the economy, and downplayed the country's gross domestic product target of "around 5.5%."

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks rose on Friday as strong quarterly reports from major tech companies, including Amazon and Apple, supported risk sentiment among investors.

The positive sentiment stateside comes despite a surprise 0.9% decline in U.S. GDP in the second quarter, confirmed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Thursday and deepening fears of a possible recession.

Corporate earnings continue to drive individual share price movement in Europe. Standard Chartered, Santander, Renault, Air France-KLM, BNP Paribas, AstraZeneca, Engie and Swiss Re were among the major players reporting before the bell on Friday.

At the top of the Stoxx 600, Spanish-based investment company Allfunds Group gained 17% after its first-half earnings report.

At the bottom of the index, Dutch lighting firm Signify slumped nearly 12% after its quarterly results.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.