European stocks rose Friday, underpinned by upbeat data, but as investor concerns lingered over rising cases of COVID-19 across the region.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index
rose 0.8% to 460.32, and was up 1.2% for the week as of Thursday, after sharp losses to start the week. The German DAX
rose 0.9%, the French CAC 40
gained 0.9% and the FTSE 100 index
The gains follow a mixed session in Asia, while U.S. stock futures were up 0.4% across the board, setting up for a fourth session of gains. On Thursday, stocks finished modestly higher, with the Dow
rising 25.35 points, or 0.1%, to 34,823, while the S&P 500
rose 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite
Investors are closely watching rising COVID-19 cases across Europe and the world. Italy will now require individuals to carry health passes that show if they have had one vaccination, have tested negative, or have recovered recently from the virus to enter cultural venues or dine indoors.
That’s as the U.K. government announced plans to test food-industry workers daily for COVID-19 to prevent shortages, and allow them to keep working even after contact with infected individuals. A sharp rise in infections and notifications telling individuals to stay home has led to shortages of food and gas in parts of the country.
The flash eurozone purchasing managers composite output index rose to 60.6 in July, according to preliminary data, from 59.5 in June, as the economy continued to reopen after COVID-19 restrictions.
The European Central Bank on Thursday tweaked its policy guidance after adjusted its inflation target, vowing to keep interest rates lower for longer.
While the data showed stronger service-sector activity, concerns about the spread of the delta variant weighed on the business outlook for the year ahead, said Bert Colijn, senior economist at ING, in a note to clients.
“Still, the picture painted by the survey is very rosy. Employment is rebounding quickly, new orders for manufacturing and services continue to grow rapidly, and reported recent activity ticked up in general, meaning that July has been a solid start to 3Q,” said the analyst.
Among stocks on the move, shares of Valeo
jumped 7%, after the French automotive supplier reported better-than-expected earnings for the first half of the year and backed its full-year outlook. Shares of auto maker Daimler
Stock in Skanska
climbed 7%, after the Swedish builder reported a jump in second-quarter profit, though also flagged materials shortages as business has picked up.
Shares of aircraft maker Airbus
climbed 3%, after analysts at Citi lifted the stock to buy from neutral. “The main driver of the higher target price is increasing long-term (2025) A320 production rates to 65, which we believe is sustainable,” said analyst Charles Armitra, who also expects a strong second quarter with results on July 29 and higher full-year guidance.