European stock indices rose at the close of trading today, Friday, despite a pessimistic week, as investors evaluated the first-quarter corporate results and economic data.
The Stoxx 600 closed 0.4% higher, with the banking sector up 0.8%, energy sector stocks up 1.5%, and auto stocks down 0.7%.
French bank Societe Generale achieved positive business results that exceeded expectations in the first quarter, with its share rising by 2%. Germany’s Allianz earnings missed expectations, and shares of the financial services provider closed up 0.5%.
Shares of Swiss luxury goods group Richmont rose 7.5% to an all-time high, after beating estimates on sales and earnings. --
On the other hand, government data showed that the UK’s gross domestic product grew by 0.1% in the first quarter of this year, in line with expectations, but unexpectedly fell by 0.3% in March as the services sector contracted.
On Thursday, the Bank of England announced an expected rate hike of 25 basis points to 4.5% as it seeks to tackle inflation, which remains above 10%. The central bank also said it no longer expects the UK to fall into recession this year, having previously predicted the longest recession in the country’s history.
At the end of the session, the British FTSE 100 index rose by 0.3%, or 24 points, to 7754 points, and the German DAX rose by 0.5%, or 79 points, to 15914 points, while the French CAC 40 index rose by 0.4, or 33 points, to 7,415 points, while the Stoxx index rose by 0.4%, or 2 points, at 465 points, and its gains this week amounted to only about 0.04%.