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European Stocks Close Mixed After Cautious Session

European stocks turned in a mixed performance on Friday with investors largely making cautious moves, reacting to quarterly earnings announcements and news about the virus outbreak in China and its likely impact on the global economy.

The pan European Stoxx 600 ended down 0.13%. Among the major markets in Europe, the U.K. ended notably lower, with its benchmark FTSE 100 declining 0.58%. France's CAC 40 shed about 0.39% and Germany's DAX edged down 0.01%, while Switzerland's SMI closed 0.33% up.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Spain and Sweden closed with modest gains.

Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Russia and Turkey closed weak, while Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands and Portugal ended flat.

In France, Kering, Airbus Group, ArcelorMittal, Peugeot, Louis Vuitton, STMicroElectronics, L'Oreal and Credit Agricole lost 1 to 3%.

On the other hand, Unibail Rodamco gained nearly 3%. Bouygues gained about 2.2%. Engie, Capgemini, Carrefour, Sodexo, Danone and Vinci gained 0.75 to 1.5%.

In the German market, Wirecard shares declined 3.4%. Infineon, Volkswagen and BMW ended lower by 1 to 1.25%, while MTU Aero, Vonovia, Fresenius, RWE and E.ON gained 1 to 2%.

In the UK market, Informa, Land Securities, Pearson, Legal & General and British Land gained 2 to 3%.

Royal Bank of Scotland plunged nearly 7% after the bank cut its medium-term returns target after reporting a jump in annual profits.

NMC Health shares declined 5.2%. Astrazeneca Pharma ended 4.2% down after core operating profit for the final quarter missed expectations. BAE Systems and Lloyds Group lost 2.8% and 2.4%, respectively.

In economic news, the euro area economy grew as initially estimated in the fourth quarter, flash estimates from Eurostat revealed Friday. Gross domestic product in the 19-nation bloc grew only 0.1% sequentially, following third quarter's 0.3% expansion. The expansion was the slowest growth since early 2013.

On a yearly basis, economic growth eased to 0.9% from 1.2% in the third quarter. The fourth quarter growth was revised down from 1%.

The trade surplus rose to EUR 22.2 billion in December from EUR 19.1 billion in November. Exports grew 0.9%, while imports fell 0.7%.

On an unadjusted basis, the trade surplus totaled EUR 23.1 billion versus EUR 16.3 billion a year ago. Exports advanced 4.8% and imports gained 1.1% annually.

German economy stagnated in the fourth quarter of 2019 amid slower consumption and weaker exports, preliminary figures from Destatis showed.

Gross domestic product was unchanged from the previous quarter on a seasonally and calendar-adjusted basis. Economists had forecast 0.1% growth.

Another data from Destatis said Germany's wholesale prices increased 0.3% year-on-year in January, after a 1.3% decline in December. On a monthly basis, wholesale prices rose 1% in January, after remaining unchanged in the preceding month.

Data from the Federal Statistical Office showed Switzerland's producer and import prices declined in January, falling 1% year-on-year. On a monthly basis, producer and import prices remained unchanged in January.

Meanwhile, in news about the coronavirus outbreak, a report from China's National Health Commission showed an additional 121 deaths in China and nearly 5,100 new cases of the virus across the mainland on Thursday.

Till Thursday, the virus has killed about 1,380 people in mainland China, according to the commission's report.

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