European stocks eke out gains despite oil slipping; Roche jumps

European stocks eked out gains Friday amid a decline in oil prices.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended up 0.2 percent provisionally. On the week, however, the STOXX 600 jumped 3.4 percent.

Sectors closed mixed on Friday, with energy, autos and miners leading the declines.

London’s FTSE index, France’s CAC and the German DAX all closed slightly above the flat line.

However, in peripheral bourses, Italy’s FTSE MIB was off 0.2 percent and the Athens’ stock exchange fell 1.3 percent.

Oil prices were a key market mover on Friday. Despite breaking $50 a barrel on Thursday, prices fell into the red on Friday, as the U.S. dollar strengthened and analysts predicted range-bound markets for the coming months.

Both Brent and U.S. crude traded closer to $49 a barrel at Europe’s stock market close.

Meanwhile, the basic resources stock index fell 0.8 percent despite metal prices gaining. Both Anglo American and Antofagasta fell 2.5 percent or more by the close.

Roche rises on trial success

One of the STOXX 600’s best performer was Roche, which closed up 4 percent following the announcement of positive results in its trials of drug Gazyva.

One of the worst performers was Banco Popular, which ended down over 8 percent after announcing a rights issue on Thursday.

Investors kept a close eye on the first day of trading of the Philips Lighting spin-off on Friday. Philips set pricing in the initial public offering (IPO) of its lighting arm at 20 euros per share and the Amsterdam-listed shares of the company rose to trade at 21.6 euros per share. Philips rose following the IPO, closing up 1.2 percent.

PostNL and Bpost shares were suspended during trade, following reports of a possible merger between the mail operators. In morning trade, PostNL had jumped over 5 percent.

Autos under-performed as a sector, with Renault, Peugeot Citroen and Fiat shares all closing sharply lower, after Credit Suisse cut its price target on each of the stocks.

In the U.S., a second reading of U.S. first-quarter GDP data came in at 0.8 percent, slightly below expectations. U.S. markets traded higher as investors digested the new data and awaited a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. This — along with the GDP figure — may give investors more hints on when the Fed might raise interest rates.

In other news, Group of Seven (G-7) country leaders met in Japan and expressed concern on Friday about risks to the world economy, including weak growth. In a statement after the two-day summit, the leaders committed to avoiding “competitive devaluation” of their currencies and warned against “disorderly” exchange-rate moves.

Source: CNBC