Europe shares close mixed after weak US data

European shares closed mixed on Friday after data showed the number of U.S. jobs increased by less than expected in July.

The FTSEurofirst 300 Index hit a fresh two-month high, provisionally 0.2 percent higher at 1,224, however, the FTSE 100 and German DAX closed down roughly 0.5 percent and 0.1 percent respectively.

European markets were weighed down by U.S. non-farm payrolls data which revealed that although job growth continued in July, and the economy added another 162,000 jobs, the number missed economist expectations of 184,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported Friday that the unemployment rate slipped to 7.4 percent, a shade below the predicted 7.5 percent.

U.S. stocks were falling on Friday as investors turned cautious on the disappointing jobs report, which may make the Federal Reserve more hesitant about curtailing its bond-buying program.

(Read More: So-so summer: Job growth disappoints; rate drops)

"Today's jobs data is terrifying for Main Street," said Todd M. Schoenberger, managing partner at LandColt Capital in New York. "Despite the proactive actions from the Fed and stimulus help from Capitol Hill, the labor market remains stuck in quicksand. For Wall Street, however, this is terrific news."


Insurance was Friday's leading sector in Europe, following a raft of good profit numbers. AXA and Allianz lead the rally, with the former closing up roughly 2.21 percent after forecast-beating results and the latter closing up 0.84 percent as its operating profit grew more strongly than expected.

Shares of U.K.-based airline group IAG closed 6.6 percent higher after it announced a swing to second-quarter profit as its Iberia unit improved.

(Read More: Pimco helps Europe's largest insurer beat forecasts)

Royal Bank of Scotland reported a return to profit in the first half of the year from a loss a year ago, and named Ross McEwan as its new chief executive, a year after he arrived to run its retail bank. Shares of the bank closed down provisionally 3.2 percent, however, with analysts describing the results as "largely underwhelming."

(Read More: RBS names McEwan as CEO after swinging to profit)

Shares of bookmaker William Hill closed down around 7.2 percent after its first-half pre-tax profit came in flat, and shares in German airline Deutsche Lufthansa closed down 5.02 percent after reporting a fall in profits and revenue.

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