Europe ends slightly lower amid fresh earnings; Ericsson jumps 17.5%

European equities finished Friday’s session relatively flat, as investors digested a fresh batch of corporate earnings, while keeping an eye on market movements overseas.

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed down 0.03 percent, while sectors ended the day mostly lower.

Major bourses showed a mixed picture by the close. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 closed up 0.54 percent, while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.39 percent. Germany’s DAX, however, closed down 0.21 percent.

On the week, the STOXX 600 provisionally closed up 0.7 percent. This positive overall weekly result marks the fourth straight week of gains as global markets recovered from a turbulent start to the year.

Heightened concerns over the prospect of a trade war, faster rate hikes in the U.S. and a regulatory crackdown on big tech companies had pushed the STOXX to 14-month lows last month.

On Friday, tech firm Ericsson reported smaller-than-expected losses during the first three months of the year. Shares consequently finished at the top of Europe’s benchmarks, soaring 17.5 percent on the news.

Shortly behind Ericsson’s lead was Telia, which closed up 8.6 percent, after the Nordics telecoms group announced a share buyback plan as first-quarter earnings beat expectations. Telecoms as a whole was the region’s top performing sector, jumping 1.04 percent.

Reckitt Benckiser shares pared some of its losses, closing down 2.78 percent after its sales growth missed estimates for its first quarter.

Meantime, ASM International slipped lower, down almost 8.5 percent, after reporting earnings late Thursday. The firm saw net sales for 2018’s first quarter come in at 159 million euros ($195.7 million) — a decrease of 12 percent, compared to the previous quarter.

Shares of Air France KLM dropped 2.5 percent, after the airline said it was launching a consultation with staff members, to find an end to a strike over pay. To date, the dispute has cost over 220 million euros.

Elsewhere, U.K. regulators have concluded their investigations into Barclays and its CEO Jes Staley. While the FCA and PRA won’t take enforcement action against the bank, it is now required to report to the regulators on aspects of their whistle-blowing programs. Staley will also be fined for attempting to unmask a whistleblower. Shares of the bank finished modestly higher.

In the States, U.S. stocks fell deep into the redaround Europe’s close, as further declines in Apple saw the tech sector extend losses. On Friday, it emerged that the Democratic Party was suing President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Russian government and Wikileaks, claiming a broad conspiracy to disrupt the election in 2016.

In Asia, equities finished the session lower after the world’s largest chipmaker delivered a disappointing forecast late Thursday. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing slashed its revenue target to the lower end of forecast, citing weaker-than-expected demand for smartphones.

Elsewhere, oil prices hovered close to multi-year highs after climbing to their highest level since late 2014 on Thursday. International benchmark Brent crude came off its lows by Europe’s close, trading at $73.44. Prices remain supported by a drawdown in global supply as OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia appeared poised to increase its export revenue. Source: CNBC

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