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European stocks aided by Fed hopes even as worst week in a year looms

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European stocks aided by Fed hopes even as worst week in a year looms
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Staff/Files   -   Copyright  STAFF(Reuters)
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By Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick

(Reuters) – European stocks hovered in positive territory on Friday, propped up by hopes of easing measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve, but gains were slim as markets threatened to log their worst weekly performance in a year.

The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> rose 0.3% after three straight sessions of declines that erased about 4% of value. Sectors considered stable during times of economic uncertainty such as healthcare, telecoms and food and beverage, were among the prominent gainers.

Technology stocks <.SX8P> rose 0.4%, with chipmakers jumping after a report said Apple Inc <AAPL.O> would increase its iPhone 11 production.

Shares of chipmakers AMS <AMS.S>, Infineon Technologies <IFXGn.DE>, STMicro <STM.PA> and Dialog Semiconductor <DLGS.DE> jumped between 1% and 3.4%.

With corporate news light, investors now wait for the latest U.S. payrolls data, due at 12:30 GMT, to gauge the health of the world’s largest economy – particularly after a dismal set of data this week bolstered hopes of an interest rate cut in October from the Fed.

“If we have a soft number today, that’s going to trigger another sell-off. This will be confirmation that the slowdown is real,” said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets in London.

In a turbulent week for markets roiled by weak readings on factory and services sector activity in the United States and the euro zone, as well as U.S. tariffs on European Union goods, the STOXX 600 was on course to post its worst weekly performance in about a year.

London-listed shares <.FTSE>, also on course for their worst weekly performance in a year, took the biggest hit due to fresh Brexit worries and recession fears, while eurozone shares <.STOXXE> were set to post their biggest weekly decline in two months.

The basic resources index <.SXPP> was among the worst performing sectors on the day, losing about 0.7% as copper prices retreated on fears of slowing global demand. Heavyweight miner BHP Group Plc <BHPB.L> fell about 0.5%.

Automakers <.SXAP> fell 0.7%, with BMW <BMWG.DE> shedding 1.7% after an Australian regulator called for 20,000 cars with faulty Takata airbags to be kept off the roads, many of which include BMW cars.

Shares of London Stock Exchange Group plc <LSE.L> rose 2% after reports that some of the bourse operator’s shareholders told Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing <0388.HK> to increase its takeover offer by 20%.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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