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UPDATE 2-European shares flat after U.S. jobs data; pound weighs on FTSE 100

· 02/05/2021 04:13
UPDATE 2-European shares flat after U.S. jobs data; pound weighs on FTSE 100

German orders fall for first time in eight months

Banks, tech, travel & leisure lead sectoral gains

STOXX 600 posts best week since November

Sanofi rises on stronger-than-expected Q4 results

Updates to close

By Shreyashi Sanyal and Susan Mathew

- European stocks were little changed at the end of an upbeat week on Friday, with disappointing U.S. data highlighting the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while in Germany industrial orders declined.

U.S. employment growth rebounded moderately in January but job losses were deeper than initially thought, bolstering the case for a large stimulus by President Joe Biden's administration. MKTS/GLOBnL1N2KA34DnL8N2KA62W

"The prospect of more stimulus remain elevated," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. New York. "Any profit-taking should be limited."

The STOXX 600 .STOXX posted its best weekly performance since November with a rise of 3.5% despite a lacklustre session on Friday, when gains in travel and leisure stocks .SXTP, basic materials .SXPP and banks .SX7P were countered by losses in defensive sectors such as utilities .SX6P, telecoms .SXKP and healthcare .SXDP.

Germany's DAX index .GDAXI was flat after data showed orders for German-made goods fell more than expected in December, ending a seven-month streak of positive reports as fresh restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic subdued demand from other euro zone countries. nL8N2KB1KV

"Today's data shows that stricter lockdown measures since mid-December, as well as the Christmas break, have finally hit German industry ... but at face value, this only looks like a temporary breather," strategists at ING wrote in a note.

London's FTSE 100 .FTSE slid 0.2%, extending losses to a third straight session, as a higher pound GBP= weighed on the internationally focused firms on the index. .L GBP/

Investors also parsed earnings reports from European companies.

Sanofi SA SASY.PA gained 1.5% as the French drugmaker said it aimed to grow earnings per share this year after posting stronger-than-expected quarterly results. nL8N2KA79I

Shares in Vinci SGEF.PA were the biggest boost to the STOXX 600 after Europe's biggest construction and concessions company beat full-year core profit forecasts, helped by some recovery in its contracting business. France's CAC 40 .FCHI rose 0.9% to close at two-week high. nL8N2KB1M5

Insurer Beazley BEZG.L logged its best day in eight weeks as a loss in 2020 took a back seat to a forecast to return to profit and bring back its dividend during the course of this year.nL8N2KB1MS

Finnish oil refiner Neste NESTE.HE fell 6.4% to the bottom of the STOXX 600, after issuing a weak first-quarter outlook and unexpectedly cut its dividend. nL1N2KB0HU

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Kirsten Donovan)

((Shreyashi.Sanyal@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780; +91 961 144 3740; Twitter: https://twitter.com/s_shreyashi))