European stocks closed litte changed on Friday as investors digested fresh economic data, eyed a G-20 meeting in Hamburg and continued to mull the possible end of monetary stimulus from central banks.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.07 percent lower with most sectors in negative territory. For the week, the Stoxx 600 and the major bourses were little changed.
Media stocks were the worst-performing sector after several rating downgrades. BNP Paribas downgraded WPP to “underperform” from “outperform”, sending the stock more than 2 percent lower. It also downgraded Italy’s Mediaset, which fell more than 3 percent on Friday. The latter said recently there was a chance it would sell its pay-TV unit’s final season of Champion League matches for 2017-18 to Sky. Oil and gas stocks were also down on Friday after new data showed an increase in U.S. production. Oil prices fell sharply with WTI slumping more than 1 percent to $44.35 a barrel and Brent dropped 1.2 percent to $46.84.
On Wall Street, stocks rose on Friday after job growth surged more-than-expected in June, reaffirming labor market strength that could keep the Federal Reserve on track for a third interest rate hike this year.
Looking at particular stocks, the French firm Carrefour reported a stronger performance for the second quarter of the year on Thursday and kept its 2017 sales growth outlook. However, investors weren’t convinced with the company’s plans over profit margins. The stock dropped more than 5 percent.
Engine manufacturer Deutz fell more than 12 percent after the Swedish firm Volvo announced plans to sell 25 percent of its stake in the German engine maker.
Elsewhere, towards the top of the European benchmark was Centrica, up more than 2 percent. The stock has been particularly attractive for investors since it reported at the end of June that it has plans to offload two large gas power plants for £318 million ( $412 million) in cash.
In terms of data, the latest Halifax house price index showed U.K. house prices falling 1 percent month-on-month in June, but still 2.6 percent higher year-on-year in the three months to June.
In France, data from the finance ministry showed the deficit in the five months to May growing slightly to 66.4 billion euros ($75.83 billion) in monthly terms. In Germany, industrial production rose 1.2 percent in May from the previous month.
In the U.S., new data showed nonfarm payrolls rising to a seasonally adjusted figure of 222,000 in June from the previous month. The positive data is a key influencer for the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.
President Donald Trump has met Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time at a G-20 in Germany. Their first encounter took place only hours after Trump said that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election and blamed the country for a “destabilizing behavior”.
European Central Bank Executive Board Member Benoit Coeure said Friday in a newspaper that the recovery had finally arrived in the euro zone. However, he added that it would be unwise for the central bank to let its guard down because the current recovery is mainly a cyclical one.