By Barbara Kollmeyer
European stocks were headed for the best weekly return since November amid a flurry of fresh earnings news on Friday, while U.S. equity futures also rose modestly ahead of a big piece of data — nonfarm payrolls.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -2.15% rose 0.3% to 410.90, poised for a weekly return of 3.8%, the best since the week ended Nov. 13, when the index rose 5.1%. The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -2.43% rose 0.1% and the FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -1.37% was flat, but the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -1.94% gained 0.9% thanks to a batch of earnings.
U.S. stock futures /zigman2/quotes/209948968/delayed ES00 -0.89% /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 -0.34% were slightly higher, led by Nasdaq-100 futures /zigman2/quotes/210219788/delayed NQ00 -1.51% . The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.11% and Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -1.65% hit fresh records on Thursday, boosted by a drop in COVID-19 deaths and cases, corporate results, and encouraging weekly jobless claims.
Investors on both sides of the Atlantic will be focused on January U.S. jobs data , with expectations for a jobs gain of 55,000, according to economists contacted by Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. But the labor market continues to struggle from the winter onslaught of COVID-19.
U.S. drug company Johnson & Johnson /zigman2/quotes/201724570/composite JNJ +1.10% said it had submitted an application for an emergency-use authorization to the Food and Drug Administration for its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
In Europe, where cases are also starting to ease off amid tight restrictions, data from Germany revealed a bigger-than-expected drop in manufacturing orders for December.
Among stocks on the move, shares of Beazley /zigman2/quotes/209655690/delayed UK:BEZ -0.23% surged 13%, after the specialty insurer swing to a pretax loss for 2020, but said it was upbeat about its performance in 2021.
Shares of Vinci /zigman2/quotes/200895814/delayed FR:DG -0.75% jumped 5%, after the French construction company posted a sharp fall in profit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but analysts cited a strong beat on free cash flow.
Carlsberg /zigman2/quotes/206906043/delayed DK:CARL.A 0.00% shares climbed over 3%, after the brewer proposed a bigger payout for shareholders as it posted a forecast-beating full-year net profit , citing cost cuts and a strong China rebound.
Shares of BNP Paribas /zigman2/quotes/206351084/delayed FR:BNP -2.73% rose 2%. The French bank reported a drop in fourth-quarter profit, hurt by record low interest rates and the pandemic, but forecast a rebound in revenue this year as the global economy picks up.
Sanofi /zigman2/quotes/206928357/delayed FR:SAN -1.35% /zigman2/quotes/201967021/composite SNY -0.52% shares rose 2%, after the French drug company swung to a profit for the fourth quarter of 2020, even as it posted a sales drop on the year.
Leading the decliners, shares of Finnish engineering group Neste /zigman2/quotes/202009726/delayed FI:NESTE -4.96% fell nearly 6% after reporting results, which included a drop in operating profit.