Channel NewsAsia

European stocks pause after strong rally

European stocks ended the week on a muted note on Friday as traders paused after the previous day's solid gains that followed forecast-busting US jobs data, dealers said.

LONDON: European stocks ended the week on a muted note on Friday as traders paused after the previous day's solid gains that followed forecast-busting US jobs data, dealers said.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 closed down 0.20 percent to 10,009.08 points, while the CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.47 percent to 4,468.98 points.

London's FTSE 100 index of top companies ending largely flat at 6,866.05 points, compared to Thursday's closing levels.

The euro fell to $1.3597, down from $1.3609 late on Thursday in New York, while the pound jumped to a new six-year dollar peak on expectations of a British interest rate hike.

"Given the gains seen already this week markets in Europe appear to have packed up for the weekend," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

"By mid-morning (they) were looking forward to this evening's battle of the eurozone quarter-finals of the World Cup, as France and Germany get set to pit fiscal flamboyance against fiscal prudence," he added.

Markets had risen strongly on Thursday after the European Central Bank kept its ultra-loose monetary policy in place.

Wall Street enjoyed a record-breaking performance on Thursday after the United States said its economy created more than a quarter of a million jobs in June.

The world's number one economy added 288,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent in May, the US Labor Department said.

The closely watched figures were well above expectations of 215,000 and add to the sense that the recovery in the world's largest economy is on track.

They also soothed any lingering market concerns some dealers may have had after last month's downgrade of first-quarter economic growth estimates.

In reaction, Wall Street topped the week off on a high, with the Dow and S&P 500 hitting a record for the third straight session.

The Dow jumped 0.54 percent to end above 17,000 for the first time, while the S&P 500 gained 0.55 percent. The Nasdaq added 0.63 percent.

US markets were closed Friday for a long weekend for the Independence Day public holiday.

"Recently improving economic fundamentals, especially in China and the US, have generated renewed optimism that the global recovery is not only continuing but also likely to accelerate in the months ahead," said analyst Markus Huber at broker Peregrine and Black.

European markets were also dealt a blow on Friday when Austrian bank Erste warned that hits to its Romania and Hungary businesses would drive it to a record 2014 loss.

The news sent its shares plummeting 14 percent and weighed on other local lenders.

"In the short term, another profit warning is not good news," said Societe Generale in a note to clients

In Asia on Friday, stock markets turned in a mixed performance as profit-taking set in.

Tokyo climbed 0.58 percent and Sydney added 0.61 percent, while Seoul ended marginally lower, Shanghai slipped 0.19 percent and Hong Kong closed flat.

In London foreign exchange trades, the British pound was virtually unchanged at $1.7155 from late in New York Thursday, after surging to $1.7180, the highest level since October 2008.

The euro sank to 79.26 British pence, a level last seen in September 2012.

In late morning deals, the single currency stood at 79.24 pence, down from 79.33 pence the day before.

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold rose to $1,319.25 an ounce from $1,317.50 on Thursday.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia