European stocks close lower after US jobs report

European stocks ended in the negative territory on Friday, as uncertainty surrounding the U.S. elections continued to reflect in the market and investors digested a mixed jobs report.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.83 percent with all sectors trading lower. Oil prices fell to below $44 a barrel on Friday for the first time in six weeks as skepticism grew over OPEC’s ability to implement a production cut to the commodity.

At the end of European trading on Friday, Brent was down, 0.7 percent trading at $45.5 a barrel, while U.S. WTI fell 0.6 percent at $44 a barrel.

Investors had largely priced in a Hillary Clinton win in the election, but the race has narrowed dramatically since last week after the FBI announced it would be investigating new emails linked to the Democratic candidate.

U.S. jobs numbers were in focus with nonfarm payrolls rising by a seasonally adjusted 161,000 in October from the month before, missing market expectations. Further to this, the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent and average hourly earnings for private workers rose 0.4 percent.

Analysts did not anticipate the nonfarm payrolls to have too much impact on the dollar, the currency has pulled back in recent days.

Broader talk of less monetary policy easing is also weighing on investor sentiment.

“Equity markets remain southerly oriented into the weekend. Investors remain nervous about who will prove victorious in next Tuesday’s U.S. election. They are also having to deal with a more hawkish central bank outlook globally as the U.S. Fed preps us for another step towards policy normalization via a December rate hike and its Bank of England peer shifts away from more stimulus thanks to the U.K. economy weathering the Brexit storm,” Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, wrote in a note on Friday.

European investors are also focused on earnings. Germany’s second-largest lender Commerzbank reported a net loss of 288 million euros ($320 million) in the third quarter on Friday, which beat analyst estimates but was lower than the 235 million euro profit seen in the same period last year. Shares of Commerzbank were down 1.3 percent.

Also in Germany, BMW shares fell after it reported group earnings before interest and taxes up nearly 14 percent in the third quarter.

Elsewhere, Lafargeholcim posted revenues that came in below analyst expectations but the world’s largest cement maker posted a rise in core earnings. The Swiss firm said it was on track to hit its full-year targets, sending shares higher.

Luxury watch maker Richemont reported a worse-than-expected 51 percent plunge in profit for the six months through to September. The Swiss company also said its chief executive and chief financial officer will step down along with a number of board members next year. Investors took this as a positive sign and shares closed 5 percent higher.

Ubisoft shares rallied over 12 percent following positive earnings on Thursday, and Kepler Cheuvreux on Friday raised its target price for the stock. The entertainment company finished the trading week 8.5 percent in the black.

Source: CNBC

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