European Markets Extended Yesterday's Weakness
BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT/PARIS (dpa-AFX) - The majority of the European markets ended Friday's session in the red, extending their losses from the previous session. The recent rally in Europe and on Wall Street appears to be running out of steam due to uncertainties over the U.S. fiscal and monetary policies.
Investors were also disappointed by the unexpected drop in U.K. retail sales and the drop in the euro area current account surplus. Bank stocks were among the weakest performers at the end of the trading week, while a drop in iron ore prices weighed on the mining sector.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index weakened by 0.10 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks decreased 0.07 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.32 percent.
The DAX of Germany dropped 0.00 percent and the CAC 40 of France fell 0.65 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.30 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 0.46 percent.
In Frankfurt, Allianz climbed 2.81 percent. The insurer announced a share buyback program worth up to 3 billion euros after posting solid fourth-quarter results.
Drug-maker Stada Arzneimittel gained 2.72 percent on saying the open-minded talks with the two potential bidders are continuing.
Deutsche Bank dropped 2.08 percent and Commerzbank lost 1.37 percent.
In Paris, Essilor International fell 0.74 percent as the eye-care firm lifted dividend after reporting a rise in fiscal 2016 profit.
Societe Generale declined 2.57 percent and BNP Paribas lost 2.23 percent. Credit Agricole also finished lower by 2.68 percent.
In London, Unilever soared 13.43 percent after U.S. company Kraft Heinz offered to acquire the company. Unilever rejected the takeover proposal.
AstraZeneca advanced 1.56 percent after the drug-maker reported positive results from its Phase III OLYMPIAD trial of its breast cancer treatment Lynparza (olaparib).
Shares of Coca-Cola HBC rose 4.03 percent to extend Thursday's rally after the bottling firm said it expects slightly better economic conditions to support volume growth in 2017.
Real estate investment trust Segro jumped 3.15 percent after its full-year EPS beat forecasts.
Aegon lost 4.54 percent in Amsterdam despite reporting better-than-expected underlying earnings for the fourth quarter.
Shares of oil and chemical storage firm Royal Vopak sank 7.13 percent after its 2016 core profit missed estimates.
The euro area current account surplus declined in December, the European Central Bank said Friday. The current account surplus fell to a seasonally adjusted EUR 31 billion in December from EUR 36.4 billion in November.
Eurozone construction output declined for the first time in three months in December, figures from Eurostat showed Friday. Construction output dropped 0.2 percent month-on-month in December, in contrast to November's 0.9 percent increase. Output had increased in the previous two months.
UK retail sales declined unexpectedly at the start of the year as consumers curbed their spending in response to rising inflation. Retail sales including automotive fuel dropped 0.3 percent month-on-month in January, following a 2.1 percent fall in December, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Friday.
Sales were expected to grow 1 percent in January after falling for two consecutive months.
Pointing to a positive economic outlook in the first half of the year, the Conference Board released a report on Friday showing a bigger than expected increase by its index of leading U.S. economic indicators in the month of January.
The Conference Board said its leading economic index climbed by 0.6 percent in January after rising by 0.5 percent in December. Economists had expected the index to increase by 0.4 percent.
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