German and U.K. stocks led advances in European equity trade Friday, amid weakness in the euro and the pound against the dollar. For the week, the pan-Europe benchmark posted a gain amid a raft of corporate quarterly results.
How markets are moving
Germany’s DAX 30 index /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.64% rose 0.6% to close at 12,580.87, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -1.33% added 1.1% to 7,502.21.
France’s CAC 40 index /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -0.84% tacked on 0.5% to reach 5,483.19.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.78% gained 0.2% to 384.65, rising 0.7% for the week. That marked a fifth straight winning week.
The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.0712% dropped to $1.2082, from $1.2104 late Thursday in New York. The euro fell below $1.22 on Thursday after the European Central Bank held benchmark interest rates steady as expected.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.1123% fell to a more than seven-week low at $1.3786 after a disappointing reading on U.K. economic growth, down from $1.3915 late Thursday in New York.
What’s driving markets
German and U.K. equities marched higher as the euro and the pound fell. Their stock benchmarks are heavily weighted with exporters and multinational companies, and currency weakness can bolster earnings and revenue for those companies.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.1123% on Friday dropped to its lowest since early March after a preliminary reading of U.K. first-quarter economic growth significantly undershot expectations.
The euro extended losses from Thursday, with analysts saying remarks by ECB chief Mario Draghi suggested the central bank is concerned about slowing in the eurozone economy, even as he stressed a solid, broad-based expansion in the region.
French first-quarter GDP figures released Friday highlighted investor concerns about the health of the eurozone as growth in Europe’s second-largest economy slowed.
Draghi also offered little in the way of hints about ending its bond-buying program in September, as expected, and when it expects to begin to raise interest rates.
Meanwhile, investors world-wide were also watching a thaw in tensions between North and South Korea. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un crossed the military demarcation line to meet South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, reportedly discussed denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula during a historic meeting on Friday.