European Stocks Mixed; WPP Weighs on U.K. Market

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets traded in a mixed fashion Friday, as investors digest more quarterly corporate earnings ahead of the latest widely watched U.S. jobs report.

By 3:55 AM ET (0755 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.1% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.1%, while U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2%.

European equities have registered gains this week as largely positive corporate earnings have overshadowed fears that the region is heading for an economic slowdown later this year.

Helping the tone Friday was the news that German industrial production eked out a surprise gain in June, as output in Europe’s manufacturing powerhouse rose 0.4% from May.

This comes after the Bank of England warned Thursday of the likelihood the U.K. economy enters a long-lasting recession in the fourth quarter of this year, as it increased interest rates by 50 basis points in order to tackle inflation running at 40-year highs.

The main focus Friday will be on the July U.S. employment report as investors look for clues on how the Federal Reserve will view the strength of the world’s largest economy.

Nonfarm payrolls are seen increasing by 250,000 jobs last month, a slowing in growth from 372,000 in June, which could ease pressure on the Fed to deliver a third straight interest rate increase of 75 basis points at its next meeting in September.

In corporate news, Allianz (ETR:ALVG) stock fell 2.7% after the German insurer posted a hefty 23% fall in second quarter net profit, dampened by volatile markets.

WPP (LON:WPP) stock slumped over 7%, with the forecast of a U.K. recession weighing heavily on the world’s largest advertising group despite it increasing its annual net sales outlook.

On the flip side, Deutsche Post (ETR:DPWGn) stock rose 5.9% after it reported double-digit growth in revenue and earnings, boosted by its flourishing freight and express business.

London Stock Exchange (LON:LSEG) stock rose 3.8%, helped by launching a 750 million pound ($910 million) share buyback while integrating its $27 billion acquisition of data company Refinitiv.

Oil prices edged higher Friday, but are on course for hefty losses this week after falling to a six-month low on concerns a global economic slowdown will severely hit demand.

The oil market has now given back all the gains prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with growth worries ratcheted up after the Bank of England's recession warning.

Still, supply remains tight, with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, increasing production by just 100,000 barrels per day in September, equal to about 0.1% of global oil demand.

By 3:55 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.8% higher at $89.27 a barrel, on course for a weekly loss of almost 10%, while the Brent contract rose 0.8% to $94.89, set for a weekly loss of 14%.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,806.25/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.0229.

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