LONDON — European stocks fell sharply on Friday, capping another volatile week for markets amid fears over the direction of central bank policies.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 1%, with mining stocks shedding 2.8% to lead losses, with nearly every sector except retail and travel slipping into the red.
It is the fourth consecutive week of losses for stock markets in Europe – and the first time since March 2020.
Earnings were a major driver of individual stock price action on Friday. Dutch lighting company Signify jumped nearly 11% after a strong run of results, while Swedish clothing giant H&M gained 5% after beating profit expectations.
At the bottom of Europe’s blue chip index, German chemical company Henkel fell more than 11% after its earnings report.
Markets swirled throughout the week as investors reacted on Wednesday to the Fed’s indication that it may soon raise interest rates for the first time in more than three years, and to rising geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
After a sharply negative open on Thursday, European stocks recouped their losses and closed 0.7% higher after US GDP figures came in stronger than expected. They are still down more than 1.5% in the last five days.
Shares in Asia Pacific closed mostly higher on Friday, while on Wall Street, U.S. stocks were mostly higher, boosted by Apple’s gains after the company reported its biggest quarter ever. terms of income.
French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH said on Thursday it expects increased demand for its fashion, handbags and jewelry products to persist through 2022 after a strong acceleration in sales growth in the fourth quarter. at 20.04 billion euros ($22.34 billion).
Economic data releases included flash figures on German, French and Spanish fourth-quarter GDP, Italian inflation impressions and a eurozone business climate survey.
France’s economy grew 0.7% in the fourth quarter, preliminary figures showed on Friday, taking the full-year growth rate to a five-decade high of 7% in 2021 after an 8% contraction in 2020.
Spanish GDP grew 2% quarter on quarter, also beating consensus expectations and bringing annual growth to 5%.
The German economy contracted more than expected in the fourth quarter as renewed Covid-19 measures weighed on activity. GDP fell by 0.7% quarter on quarter. Europe’s biggest economy grew 2.8% in 2021, figures showed on Friday.
The European Commission’s monthly economic sentiment index fell to 112.7 in January from a revised 113.8 in December, as sentiment in industry and services declined.
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– CNBC’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report