By Barbara Kollmeyer
European stocks rebounded on Friday, thanks to upbeat results from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Daimler.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.78% rose 1.6% to 368.55, after closing down 2% on Thursday, the biggest one-day drop since Sept. 21. The index is headed for a weekly loss of 0.5%. The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.97% rose 1.9%, the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -0.82% climbed 2.3% and the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.31% rose 1.5%.
European stocks also took a cue in the afternoon from Wall Street, where U.S. stocks /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.95% /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.85% /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.55% were off to a positive start , boosted by better-than-expected retail sales and consumer sentiment data, and vaccine hopes.
Drugmaker Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +0.56% said it may know by October if its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is effective. The company said it could apply for Emergency Use Authorization by the second half of November. Markets have endured some setbacks on the vaccine front this week, from Eli Lilly /zigman2/quotes/200106384/composite LLY +3.18% and Johnson & Johnson /zigman2/quotes/201724570/composite JNJ +1.98% .
Investors remain concerned about rising coronavirus cases both in the U.S. and Europe, and the effect those are having on economies. Several European countries were forced to tighten restrictions this week , moves that included a curfew in Paris and bans on different households gathering in London.
Politics also remains a theme in London, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that the U.K. should prepare for a no-deal Brexit, though that only briefly sent the pound lower.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen left the summit on Thursday afternoon, and is in quarantine after a member of her staff tested positive for COVID-19. She said she has tested negative for the virus.
The apparel sector was a leading gainer on Friday, thanks to a 7% jump in shares of CAC 40 heavyweight LVMH Moët Hennessey /zigman2/quotes/206499835/delayed IT:LVMH -1.87% . The luxury-goods maker reported strong growth at its Louis Vuitton and Dior brands, partly offsetting steep declines elsewhere.
That news gave a lift to the entire sector, with shares of Hermès International /zigman2/quotes/200522137/delayed FR:RMS -2.15% , Burberry /zigman2/quotes/205386705/delayed UK:BRBY +0.81% and Kering /zigman2/quotes/204653408/delayed FR:KER -1.39% also rising.
The automotive sector was also gaining, helped by a 5% rise in Daimler /zigman2/quotes/216301243/delayed DE:DAII +1.72% shares, after the German auto maker reported preliminary third-quarter earnings above market consensus , and said it expects a strong remainder of 2020.
That is as data showed passenger-car registrations rose in the European Union for the first time in a year in September, for a gain of 3.1%. It was, however, a mixed picture across the region, with gains in Germany and Italy, but declines in France and Spain. Renault /zigman2/quotes/200919924/delayed FR:RNO -1.60% and Peugeot shares rose around 6% each.
And Volvo /zigman2/quotes/208939564/delayed SE:VOLV.B -0.27% reported better-than-expected net profit in the third quarter, due to recovering demand for truck and construction equipment. Shares rose 3%.
A top gainer for the Stoxx 600, Thyssenkrupp /zigman2/quotes/208475822/delayed XE:TKA +1.52% shares surged 11%. The German industrial giant on Friday received a nonbinding offer for its loss-making steel division by privately held Liberty Global.