The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally down 0.56 percent with almost all sectors and major bourses in negative territory.
Europe’s technology stocks were among the worst performers, down exactly 2 percent following a weak forecast from U.S. company Applied Materials. The world’s largest supplier of equipment used to make chips said late Thursday that it expected current-quarter profit to fall below Wall Street expectations, fueling fears a two-year chip boom could be coming to an end. Silicon wafer group Siltronic slipped more than 4 percent on Friday.
Looking at individual stocks, Danish shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk said Friday it would spin off its offshore drilling operation and list in Copenhagen next year as it focuses entirely on transport and logistics. Shares of the company were over 1.83 percent higher on the news.
Meanwhile, Italian toll-road operator Autostrade per l’Italia is expected to hold an extraordinary board meeting next week to discuss the Genoa bridge disaster, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed source. The company, 88 percent owned by Atlantia, has become embroiled in a political dispute over its freeway concessions after the Morandi bridge collapsed on Tuesday, killing at least 39 people. Shares of Atlantia were up 5.68 percent Friday, after falling more than 22 percent in the previous session.
On the aviation front, shares of Air France slumped 3.09 percent after the airline confirmed Ben Smith as the new chief executive officer. On Thursday, Air France-KLM named Air Canada executive as its new boss — the first foreign CEO to take over company’s reigns.
In the U.S. Friday, stocks initially opened lower but the Dow and S&P 500 subsequently turned positive.
Market focus is largely attuned to Turkey’s ongoing currency crisis, with the lira staging a dramatic fall against the dollar earlier this week, sparking fears of contagion and a sell-off in emerging markets. However, the lira has since extended gains from its all-time record low, trading at 6.0544 at around 4:40 p.m. London time.
On Friday, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported that a higher Turkish court has also rejected an appeal for the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson.
Meanwhile, news the U.S. and China are scheduled to hold their first set of trade talks since June next week appeared to boost market sentiment.
Back in Europe, annual inflation in the 19 countries sharing the single currency increased to 2.1 percent in July, data showed Friday, confirming the rate was above the European Central Bank’s (ECB) target. The inflation rate could be perceived as good news by ECB policymakers, who are looking to end a bond purchasing program by the end of the year and possibly raise interest rates next year.