European Markets Close Higher On Strong Earnings, Recovery Hopes

European markets closed on a firm note on Friday, buoyed by some upbeat earnings announcements and eurozone economic data.

U.S. jobs data disappointed as the economy added less jobs than expected, and unemployment rose, but then, the weak data helped raise hopes that the Fed will continue to keep rates near zero for the foreseeable future.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.89%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.76%, Germany's DAX advanced 1.34% and France's CAC 40 ended 0.45% up, while Switzerland's SMI gained 0.56%.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey closed with strong gains.

Greece and Iceland drifted lower.

In the UK market, Ocado Group, Anglo American Plc, Glencore, Compass Group, Rolls-Royce Holdings, IAG, Intermediate Capital Group, Barclays Group, Auto Trader Group, Avast, Sainsbury(J), Informa and Pearson gained 2 to 4%.

BMW ended higher after reiterating its full-year profit margin outlook. Shares of aerospace engineer Meggitt soared more than 8% after reports that it could be a takeover target.

In the French market, Air France-KLM moved up more than 4%. Sodexo, STMicroElectronics, ArcelorMittal, Atos, Airbus Group, Faurecia, Michelin, Safran, WorldLine and Valeo gained 1.5 to 3%.

Among the losers, AXA plunged nearly 6%. Credit Agricole shares declined despite the bank posting a strong trading performance for the first quarter as provisions for potential credit losses fell.

Thales, Renault and Publicis Groupe ended with moderate losses.

In Germany, Adidas surged up more than 8% as the company raised its 2021 sales outlook despite ongoing lockdowns in Europe. Siemens gained in strength after lifting its revenue and profit guidance for the year.

Infineon Technologies, MTU Aero Engines, Siemens, Lufthansa, RWE, Continental and Munich RE also rose sharply, while Heidelberg Cement and Covestro closed notably lower.

In economic releases, German industrial production grew 2.5% month-on-month in March, reversing a 1.9% fall in February, Destatis reported.

Output was forecast to climb 2.3%. On a yearly basis, industrial production advanced 5.1%, in contrast to a 6.8% fall in February.

Another report revealed that German exports increased 1.2% on a monthly basis in March, while economists had forecast the growth to ease to 0.5% from 1% in February. Year-on-year, exports advanced 16.1%, reversing a 1.2% fall in February.

France's industrial and manufacturing production recovered in March, figures from the statistical office Insee showed. Industrial output grew 0.8% month-on-month, reversing a 4.8% drop in February. However, this was weaker than the economists' forecast of 2%.

In the manufacturing sector, production rose 0.4% after falling 4.8% a month ago.

The UK construction sector logged a robust growth in April with continued recoveries seen in civil engineering activity, commercial work and house building, survey results from IHS Markit showed.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply construction Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 61.6 in April, down only fractionally from March's six-and-a-half year peak of 61.7.

Switzerland's jobless rate decreased in April, data from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs showed. The jobless rate fell a seasonally to 3.1% in April from 3.3% in March. Economists had expected a rate of 3.3%.

On an unadjusted basis, the unemployment rate fell to 3.3% in April from 3.4% in the previous month. This was in line with economists' expectation.

In news from the U.S., the Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 266,000 jobs in April after surging by a downwardly revised 770,000 jobs in March. Economists had expected employment to spike by 978,000 jobs compared to the jump of 916,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The report also showed the unemployment rate inched up to 6.1% in April from 6% in March, while economists had expected the unemployment rate to drop to 5.8%.

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