European markets edge lower amid earnings, data; Deutsche Bank shares slip 3%


European stocks were slightly lower Friday lunchtime, as market participants monitored a flurry of corporate results and key economic reports.


The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down around 0.2 percent during early afternoon trade, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.

Europe's banking index led the losses, down more than 1.2 percent amid earnings news. Deutsche Bank reported its first full-year net profit in four years on Friday. However, shares dipped more than 3 percent as Germany's largest lender continues to face growing merger speculation and a series of uphill struggles.

Meanwhile, Spain's Caixabank was also trading in negative territory. The country's third-largest lender tumbled to the bottom of the European index after reporting its latest quarterly figures. Shares of the group were down almost 7 percent after Jefferies reportedly described the results as "messy numbers."

Sweden's Electrolux surged to the top of the European benchmark Friday afternoon. It comes after the home appliances maker posted stronger-than-anticipated quarterly results and forecast easing cost headwinds over the coming months. Shares of the company were up over 10 percent.

France's JCDecaux was also trading higher, after the outdoor advertising company reported adjusted organic revenue jumped 5.4 percent in the final three months of 2018. The Paris-listed stock rose more than 7 percent on the news.

On the data front, euro zone inflation slipped as expected last month. Official data published Friday showed inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro slowed to 1.4 percent in January, from 1.6 percent a month earlier. It provides another reason for the European Central Bank to ease off removing stimulus, as inflation falls further away from its target.

Later in the session, market participants will pay special attention to U.S. jobs data. Analysts are unsure what to expect, in the wake of the recent government shutdown.

Economic data

Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, after a survey on Chinese factory activity fell to its lowest level since February 2016.

The downbeat data exacerbated fears of an economic slowdown and dented optimism over a possible U.S.-China trade deal.

China's trade delegation reportedly said Washington and Beijing had made "important progress" after two days of trade negotiations.

President Donald Trump also said he would soon meet with Chinese premier Xi Jinping to try to reach a comprehensive trade deal. Stocks had taken heart from the possibility of top-level trade talks over the coming weeks, but the upbeat mood soon cooled when the White House insisted it sees March 1 as a hard deadline for a deal.

In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, edged 0.2 percent lower on Friday.

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