European equity benchmarks were higher on Friday ahead of the release of the latest US jobs report, which may be the final argument for US Federal Reserve policymakers to raise interest rates at their meeting next week.
“In focus today will be those all-important Non-Farm Payrolls, the US jobs report as a whole likely sealing the deal on a Fed rate hike next week, so long as unemployment holds around the lows and wages growth remains pointing north,” Michael van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets said by e-mail. The US economy is forecast to have added 200,000 jobs in February, according to an investing.com poll. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics is due to publish the data at 8:30 am Eastern Time.
In equities, telecom, technology and financials led European equity benchmarks higher. British telecoms company BT was the top performer in Europe’s benchmark STOXX 600 index, rising 4.4% after the company said it reached an agreement with the telecoms regulator Ofcom about legally separating Openreach, which maintains copper and fibre lines that run from telephone exchanges to homes and businesses, into a distinct company with its own board within the BT group.
Wirecard, a German financial services and technology corporation, gained 3.7% in Frankfurt and French telecom operator Numericable added 3.7% in Paris. Among financials Deutsche Bank rose 2.5% in Frankfurt and BNP Paribas advanced 1.4% and Societe Generale rose 1.5% in Paris. Euro-region banks advanced after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was more upbeat about the region’s economy at his press conference on Thursday. He said there’s no longer a “sense of urgency” in taking further monetary policy measures, according to news reports.
Mining companies advanced in London, with Glencore rising 2.2% and Anglo American up 1.4% Gold miners, however were lower, with Randgold Resources sliding 1.8% and Fresnillo dropping 1.4%.
The Europe-wide STOXX 600 index rose 0.3%, down 0.4% o the week, and the euro-region blue-chip STOXX 50 index gained 0.7%. The FTSE 100 in London added 0.4% and the DAX in Frankfurt advanced 0.5%. The CAC 40 in Paris was 0.5% higher.
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