By Callum Keown
European stocks recovered to post modest gains on Friday as better-than-expected U.S. jobs data lifted the mood.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls data slightly beat expectations as the economy added 1.76 million jobs in July — compared with June’s 4.8 million gain — and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2%.
Economists had expected the U.S. to add 1.7 million jobs , according to a poll by MarketWatch. The unemployment rate was expected to decline to 10.5% from 11.1% in June.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.10% was 0.3% higher in late afternoon trading after losing ground the morning. The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -1.09% rose 0.7%, while the French CAC /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -0.69% edged 0.1% higher, both rebounding from earlier losses. However, the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.34% was largely unmoved, closing 0.1% higher. Asian markets were mostly lower overnight , as U.S.-China tensions worried investors once again.
President Donald Trump issued executive orders late on Thursday banning “transactions” with the Chinese owners of TikTok and WeChat apps from Sept. 20. Shares in WeChat owner Tencent /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 -0.30% stock in Hong Kong sank as a result.
German industrial production rose 8.9% month-on-month in June, beating expectations and signaling a ‘V-shaped’ recovery. The sector expects production to keep increasing over the next three months, the Ifo economic institute said as it reported the survey results.
ING chief economist Carsten Brzeski said: “With all the risks of a second lockdown wave, an increase of permanent unemployment and structural changes to the economy stemming from COVID-19, it is however very unlikely that this ‘V’ will last for long.” French industrial production climbed 12.7% , also beating economists’ expectations.
Rolls-Royce /zigman2/quotes/203646520/delayed UK:RR +3.10% stock fell 0.2%, on reports by the Financial Times that activist investor ValueAct has sold its entire stake in the British aircraft-engine maker. ValueAct had a 4.5% shareholding in Rolls-Royce, according to FactSet.
AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN +2.47% /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.20% shares rose 0.6%, after the British drugmaker struck a deal for a Chinese company to produce its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in China. Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products will produce the vaccine, being developed by the University of Oxford, in mainland China if it is successful.
Rightmove /zigman2/quotes/201303150/delayed UK:RMV +1.34% shares climbed 9%, as the online property site reported surging demand in June and July. Operating profit slumped 43% to £61.7 million in the first half of the year as the U.K. housing market ground to a near-standstill during lockdown.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals /zigman2/quotes/204872832/delayed UK:HIK +1.14% led the way for the U.K.’s blue-chip index as the stock surged 10.9%. Hikma raised its interim dividend after increased demand for injectable products led to a 21% rise in first-half pretax profit. The company also said it has started manufacturing remdesivir – Gilead ‘s /zigman2/quotes/210293917/composite GILD 0.00% antiviral drug approved to treat COVID-19.