European stocks inched higher on Friday, propped up by positive company updates, although investors remained cautious about a resurgence in US Covid-19 cases and its impact on the global economy.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.4%, with technology .SX8P, industrial .SXNP and media companies .SXMP leading sectoral gains. For the week, however, the STOXX 600 was on course to fall 1%.
Markets this week have swung between fears of a second wave of coronavirus cases, particularly in the United States, and optimism over improving economic data in Europe as many countries relax lockdown measures.
“The volatility levels are still elevated. We’ll have these 1% moves on a regular basis throughout the summer,” said Keith Temperton, a sales trader at Tavira Securities. “As the liquidity dries up, the volatility will increase.”
In London, shares outperformed its European peers as the government took more steps to relax the coronavirus-led lockdown.
Airline stocks were in a bright spot, with British Airways-owner IAG and easyJet rising about 2% each on news Britain is working on an a plan to relax its quarantine for international travellers from some countries.
Air France-KLM gained 2.0% after France and Netherlands reached a deal on an aid package for the airline group, with the latter saying it would provide a 3.4-billion-euro ($3.81 billion) financing package.
AMS rose 2.2% after the Austria-based semiconductor company rejected media allegations of market manipulation during its takeover of Osram.
Germany’s Wirecard plunged 44%, a day after it collapsed, owing creditors almost $4 billion.
Adidas slipped 1.1% after Nike Inc reported an unexpected quarterly loss.
Sweden’s H&M fell 3.5% after the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer saw the pandemic pummel it to a slightly deeper than expected loss in the second quarter.