European stocks were trading modestly higher on Friday, getting a lift from financials such as Allianz, which reported a jump in net profit, and better-than-expected U.S. jobs data.
The week is set to deliver a 1.8% rise for the Stoxx 600, marking its third-straight winning week, though last week’s gain was modest. The index has returned nearly 18% so far this year, in line with a similar gain for the S&P 500.
“With the markets now entering the summer lull, investors will be taking stock of their year-to-date performance and creating a game plan for the autumn,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, in a note to clients.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 943,000 in July, beating expectations for an 845,000 gain from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. U.S. stock futures were trading mostly higher.
Among companies, shares of Allianz
climbed over 2% after the German financial group said it sees operating profit for the year in the upper half of a forecast range, as net profit grew significantly in the second quarter. The life and health operations posted an almost 30% increase, while asset management’s operating profit was up 29%.
Allianz said Sunday that the U.S. Department of Justice was probing its hedge funds that triggered deep losses for investors during the COVID-19 fueled market plunge last year, and said the hit to earnings could be significant.
The German financial firm said Friday that it now sees its operating profit for the year in the upper half of the 11 billion euros to 13 billion euros ($13.02 billion-$15.38 billion) target range.
Shares of U.K.-based insurer Prudential
were also higher, up 2.9%.
The biggest decliner was generic drugmaker Hikma Pharmaceuticals
which dropped 6% even as the company said pretax profit for the first half rose along with revenue, which barely beat consensus. Hikma also lifted its guidance, citing a strong performance from recently-launched products, and the board proposed an interim dividend.
Elsewhere, shares of private-equity battle for U.K. supermarket chain Wm Morrison Supermarkets
rose over 2% on Friday after a Fortress Investment Group-led consortium increased its takeover bid.