LONDON — European markets closed higher Friday, as investors hope for a Chinese economic recovery as Covid-19 curbs are relaxed, while assessing the prospects for a global recession.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up 0.8%, with construction and material stocks adding 1.8% to lead gains. Oil and gas stocks pared earlier losses to end the session marginally negative.
U.S. stocks moved between gains and losses Friday as worries over continued rate hikes persisted.
After a relatively muted week for European stock markets, a host of significant risk events are coming down the pike next week, including the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of England's next monetary policy meetings.
The Fed is expected to issue a 50 basis point interest rate hike — smaller than the last four increments of 75 basis points — but investors are increasingly concerned about whether the central bank can avoid a recession next year in its attempt to rein in inflation.
The Hang Seng Index led gains in Asia-Pacific as China inflation data came in roughly in line with expectations.
In remarks published by state media on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the country's easing of Covid policy would allow the economy to gather momentum.
Blue chips are looking like a good investment but you’ve got to be careful, economist says
Rob Buckland, global chief economist at Citi, discusses blue-chip companies, oil stocks and the profit environment for 2023 on CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe."
Oil and gas stocks fall as oil prices set for 10% weekly drop
European oil and gas stocks were down 0.8% in early afternoon trade, while all other sectors were buoyant.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude and Brent crude futures were both up on the day, but set for weekly losses of around 10% each. This represents the worst weekly drop since April and August, respectively, Reuters reported.
— Jenni Reid
UK financial regulator fines Santander $132 million over anti-money laundering failures
The U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority announced Friday that it had fined Spanish bank Santander £107.7 million ($132 million) for "serious and persistent" failures.
The regulator said Santander's U.K. arm failed to properly oversee its anti-money laundering systems for more than 560,000 business customers between Dec. 31, 2012 and Oct. 18, 2017.
"In one case, a new customer opened an account as a small translations business with expected monthly deposits of 5,000 pounds. Within six months it was receiving millions in deposits, and swiftly transferring the money to separate accounts," Mark Steward, FCA executive director for enforcement, said in a statement.
UK announces major overhaul of its financial sector in attempt to spur growth
The U.K. government on Friday announced extensive reforms to financial regulation that it says will overhaul EU laws that "choke off growth."
The package of 30 measures includes a relaxation of the rule that requires banks to separate their retail operations from their investment arms. This measure — first introduced in the wake of the 2008 Financial Crisis — would not apply to retail-focused banks.
- Jenni Reid
We're seeing 'some sort' of an inflection in earnings for the first time in 2 years: Portfolio manager
Henry Dixon of Man Group discusses the outlook for earnings in 2023 and the U.S. labor market, among other things.
Stocks on the move: Man Group up 4%, Carl Zeiss Meditec down 10%
Shares of Carl Zeiss Meditec plunged more than 10% in early trade after the German medical technology company issued a weak first-quarter profit outlook.
At the top of the European blue chip index, British investment manager Man Group climbed 4.7% after announcing a $125 million share buyback program.
- Elliot Smith
Here are the opening calls
There's confusion, optimism over China's shift away from zero-Covid: British Chamber of Commerce
Beijing's "U-turn" on Covid policies is leading to both confusion and optimism, said Steven Lynch, managing director at the British Chamber of Commerce in China.
"There's a lot of optimism and hope for 2023, but there is huge amounts of confusion," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia," describing the departure from strict Covid rules as happening "almost overnight."
He said there may still be "enormous inconsistencies" between local policies and the central government's rules, and people remain concerned about falling sick.
"One thing is very clear Covid is now here. Covid is pretty rife here in Beijing. And I think that brings a whole new set of challenges to what's going to face China," he said.
— Abigail Ng
CNBC Pro: Bank of America says these two global chip stocks could rise by 75% on EV car sales
A shortage of semiconductors during a boom in electric-vehicle sales could help raise profits at a handful of chip makers, according to Bank of America.
The Wall Street bank predicted that two chip stocks could see their share prices rise by more than 75% on the back of that trend.
— Ganesh Rao
CNBC Pro: Is Apple a stock to buy or avoid? Two investors face off
It's been a tumultuous year for tech companies, as investors flee growth stocks in the face of rising interest rates, and other headwinds.
Apple has held up better amid the tech carnage, although there have been some headwinds.
Two investors faced off on CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Wednesday to make a case for and against buying the stock.
— Weizhen Tan