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European stocks mixed; corporate earnings, growth and inflation data eyed

Investing.com - European stock markets traded in a mixed fashion Friday, as investors digested more corporate earnings as well as crucial regional inflation and growth economic data.

At 03:45 ET (07:45 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.2% higher, while the FTSE 100 in the U.K. fell 0.2% and the CAC 40 in France dropped 0.2%.

The corporate earnings season continued in Europe Friday, with the region’s stock markets helped by the positive close on Wall Street overnight on the back of strong numbers from a slew of companies, led by tech giant Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META).

Mercedes Benz (ETR:MBGn) stock fell 0.3% after the German vehicle manufacturer posted a fall in year-on-year earnings even as it raised the outlook for its vans division, seeing higher demand in the U.S. and China.

NatWest Group (LON:NWG) stock fell over 5% after the British bank’s first-quarter operating profit beat expectations. However, this was largely by setting aside less than expected for bad loans, thus underperforming a number of its peers.

In other news, Numis (LON:NUM) stock soared nearly 70% after Deutsche Bank (ETR:DBKGn) agreed to buy the broker in a deal valuing it at £410 million (£1 = $1.2485), a premium of 72% to the company’s closing price on Thursday.

Away from the corporate sector, investors are carefully studying a flood of growth and inflation data ahead of next week’s European Central Bank policy-setting meeting.

The ECB is widely expected to raise interest rates in early May, but the size of the increase is still up for debate as are future monetary policy decisions.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous, released its April consumer price index earlier Friday, coming in at an annual 6.8%, still at an elevated level.

Additionally, French CPI grew 5.9% on the year in April, ahead of the expected 5.7%, while Spanish CPI came in at an annual 4.1%, above the prior month’s 3.3%.

The euro zone first-quarter gross domestic product release is also due later in the session, and is expected to rise 0.2% in the first quarter, an improvement from the flat growth in the previous three months, an annual rise of 1.4%.

However, both the French and Spanish GDP numbers, also released earlier Friday, offered hope for an upside surprise as they both came in stronger than expected.

Additionally, EU finance ministers and central bank governors hold a meeting in Stockholm.

Oil prices edged higher Friday, helped by the risk on sentiment caused by generally upbeat corporate earnings, but look set to post a second weekly drop as the disappointing U.S. growth data added to fears about a global slowdown.

By 03:45 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% higher at $74.80 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.2% to $78.36.

Both benchmarks are set to decline over 3% this week, taking their drops close to 10% over the past two weeks.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,991.65/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.1002.

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