Europe markets edge higher despite political jitters; French election; Software AG up 7.5% – CNBC

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European markets continued mixed during afternoon trade on Friday after a suspected terrorist attack in France two days before a key presidential vote.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was marginally higher with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.

Basic resources stocks were among the best performers following positive earnings reports in the sector. The appetite for such stocks seemed to have escaped President Donald Trump‘s launch of an investigation into Chinese steel, raising the possibility of new tariffs.

Banking stocks also moved higher during Friday afternoon. Trump also ordered the Treasury to find and reduce tax burdens and review post-financial crisis reforms into banks and insurance companies.

Looking at individual stocks, Software AG reached the top of the European benchmark in afternoon deals, up by around 9 percent. This followed the company’s latest earnings report which showed an acceleration in its digital business.

Atkins WS also jumped over 5 percent on Friday after the Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin agreed to buy the engineering firm for $2.67 billion, Reuters reported.

Danone was at the opposite end of the index after reporting weak sales figures in the first three months of the year. The food and beverages sector moved almost 3 percent lower on the news.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average and broader S&P 500 index opened little changed as investors eyed a closely contested four-way race in the French presidential election.

Politics and data

Investors are seemingly focused on earnings reports on Friday, but politics and fresh data are also firmly on the radar. One police officer was killed in central Paris and two were wounded after a gunman opened fire on Thursday night. The shooting raised further concerns ahead of what’s described as one of the most uncertain presidential elections in French history. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

A poll released Friday showed the centrist Emmanuel Macron gaining further momentum against the far-right leader Marine Le Pen with around a 2.5 percentage point lead going into the first round (the poll was conducted before Thursday’s shooting).

In terms of data, flash euro zone composite PMI (purchasing managers’ index) came in at 56.7 in April, compared to 56.4 in March. This beat expectations of 56.3 in a Reuters poll of economists.

Elsewhere, finance ministers and central bank governors of the G-20 are gathered in the U.S., where the International Monetary Fund and World Bank carry on with their spring meetings.

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Europe markets edge higher despite political jitters; French election; Software AG up 7.5% – CNBC