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stocks, UK economic data, oil report

Europe stocks close marginally higher, FTSE misses record close

European markets closed marginally higher Friday.

The Stoxx 600 ended the session up 0.06% with most sectors and major bourses closing in the red. The FTSE 100 fell short of the record close it looked poised to hit earlier in the day, finishing the session up 0.91% at 7995.58.

— Karen Gilchrist

Euro falls to lowest level this year as dollar parity talk grows

The euro fell to its lowest level against the dollar this year as policy divergence between the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve fueled expectations that the currencies could reach parity.

The euro fell as much as 0.88% to trade at $1.063 at 3:55 p.m. London time.

The ECB held interest rates steady Thursday but gave its strongest signal yet of an upcoming rate cut. Meantime, expectations of a near-term Fed cut have faded amid a hotter-than-expected inflation print Wednesday and increasingly hawkish commentary from policymakers.

— Karen Gilchrist

U.S. stocks open lower

U.S. stocks opened lower Friday as major U.S. banks kicked off the corporate earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were both 0.6% lower in early deals, while the Nasdaq slipped 0.7%.

— Karen Gilchrist

Stocks on the move: Just Eat leads, Avanza down

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Just Eat share price.

Food delivery firm Just Eat led Stoxx 600 gains in early afternoon trade, up by 5.7% at 1:20 p.m. in London.

Investors are continuing to analyze what activist investor Sachem Head’s acquisition of a 3.6% stake means for the company.

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Avanza Bank share price.

At the other end of the index, Sweden’s Avanza was down 5.2%. The online bank held its annual general meeting Thursday where it confirmed a dividend of 11.5 Swedish kronor ($1.06) per share.

UBS analysts on Tuesday cut their target price on the stock, though the following day Barclays raised its target.

— Jenni Reid

A lot of optimism baked into upcoming earning season, analyst says

A lot of optimism baked into upcoming earning season, analyst says

Carl Hazeley, lead analyst at Finimize, discusses the outlook for U.S. banks’ earning season.

IEA downgrades oil demand growth forecast

The International Energy Agency on Friday downgraded its forecast for 2024 oil demand growth, citing “exceptionally weak” OECD deliveries, a largely complete post-Covid-19 rebound and an expanding electric vehicle fleet.

In its latest monthly oil market report, the IEA said it had revised down its 2024 oil demand growth forecast by around 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.2 million bpd.

The global energy watchdog said that it expected the pace of expansion to decelerate even further to 1.1 million bpd next year.

Surge of EV sales in China and Europe is curbing gasoline demand, IEA says

“We’re seeing the surge in [electric vehicle] sales, especially in China and also in Europe, really taking into gasoline demand, but also in the United States,” Toril Bosoni, head of oil industry and markets division at the IEA, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe” on Friday.

“There has been a lot of talk about sales not increasing as much as maybe was expected, but EV sales and increased fuel efficiencies in the car fleet is lowering gasoline demand, at least in advanced economies and particularly in China.”

International benchmark Brent crude futures with June delivery traded 0.8% higher at $90.5 per barrel on Friday at 10:40 a.m. in London, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures with May delivery rose 1% to trade at $85.9 per barrel.

Read more here.

— Sam Meredith

UK gilt yields lower, sterling falls as markets reassess rate path

The exterior of the Bank of England in the City of London, United Kingdom.

Mike Kemp | In Pictures | Getty Images

U.K. government bond yields were lower on Friday, as sterling declined against the U.S. dollar but gained against the euro.

The yield on the 10-year gilt was 6 basis points lower at 9:30 a.m. in London, while the 2-year gilt yield fell 4 basis points. Yields move inversely to prices.

Gilts have proven a popular asset at the start of 2024, with the Bank of England’s base rate at a high 5.25% and policymakers stressing a “higher-for-longer” message. Interactive Investor says gilts have logged the highest net inflows of any investment on the platform since June 2023.  

The U.S. dollar dominated on Friday, as markets continued to assess whether a hot U.S. inflation print means the Federal Reserve will begin cutting rates later than previously thought.

Sterling was down 0.3% against the greenback at $1.251. The pound managed a 0.16% gain against the euro following U.K. gross domestic product figures and the European Central Bank’s latest monetary policy announcement.

— Jenni Reid

Europe stocks open higher

European markets opened higher on Friday.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.9% during early morning deals, with all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Mining stocks led the gains, up 1.7%.

— Sam Meredith

UK economy grows by 0.1% in February, in line with expectations

Britain’s economic output increased by 0.1% in monthly terms in February, in line with expectations, according to figures published Friday by the Office for National Statistics.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.1% month-on-month expansion of gross domestic product.

The data follows economic growth of 0.3% in January, which ONS said had been upwardly revised from 0.2%.

— Sam Meredith

CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs just refreshed stocks on its ‘conviction list’ of top Asian picks for April – giving one over 40% upside

Goldman Sachs has refreshed its “conviction list” of top picks in Asia Pacific for April by adding some stocks and removing others.

The bank remains optimistic on the region, noting that it has a “solid 2Q outlook.”

“Five factors are likely to influence Asian market performance in 2Q: the start of a rate cutting cycle, led by the Fed; elections and geopolitics; 1Q earnings results; market-specific policy; and (less fundamentally, but notably) seasonality,” the investment bank’s analysts said, as they unveiled their latest additions to the list.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

4 cheap stocks to buy and hold for the next decade, according to the pros

Many shares look expensive in today’s market, but there are still cheap stocks to be found — some of which can be held for the next 10 years, according to the pros.

They shared with CNBC Pro their tips for picking cheap stocks that hold long-term promise, as well as their top picks.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are poised to open in poisitve territory on Friday.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 31 points higher at 7,949, Germany’s DAX up more than 100 points at 18,051, France’s CAC 47 points higher at 8,064 and Italy’s FTSE MIB 150 points higher at 33,212, according to data from IG.

Investors are looking ahead to U.K. gross domestic product data for February and the International Energy Agency’s monthly oil market report.

— Sam Meredith

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