European stocks close higher amid earnings; BOE hikes rates; SocGen down 4%

European stocks closed higher Friday, as investors monitored a fresh batch of corporate earnings. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally higher, up almost 3 percent, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Food and beverages stocks were the top performers as the session came to a close, up more than 1 percent. Swiss food and drink firm Nestle said Friday it would buy Texas-based Chameleon Cold-Brew, in its latest acquisition of an independent coffee business. Shares of the firm were up more than 1 percent.

Looking at individual stocks, Societe Generale reported a 15 percent drop in net income during the third quarter of the year, as it prepared to resolve two legal disputes in the U.S. The French bank’s shares fell 4 percent.

Air France-KLM reported better-than-anticipated third-quarter profits on Friday, joining European rivals in benefitting from robust summer demand. The Franco-Dutch company said improving price trends supported business in the three months through September. However, Air France-KLM lagged behind its peers in terms of cost-cutting, leading to lower profitability. Its shares slumped more than 7 percent on the news.

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq index rose to trade near a record on the back of a sharp rally in Apple shares.

Apple’s stock reached new highs after it projected holiday sales would surpass market expectations, a likely positive for companies exposed to the tech giant in Europe.

President Donald Trump confirmed Jerome Powell would run the Federal Reserve once current Chair Janet Yellen’s term expires. The move was well flagged and was not expected to disturb a roaring stock market.

Elsewhere, sterling inched higher against the dollar on Friday morning, after it took a hammering overnight in the wake of the Bank of England’s decision to raise interest rates. The BOE indicated that it would only gradually raise interest rates again in the future.

The U.K. currency slipped 1.45 percent against the dollar in the previous session, and was hovering at $1.3073 as European trading came to a close.

Oil prices edged back towards recent two-year peaks on Friday as OPEC-led supply cuts tightened supplies and drained inventories. Brent crude was 1 percent higher at $61.26 a barrel, while WTI was up around 0.5 percent at $55.01 a barrel.

Source: CNBC