- The Labor Department said the U.S. economy added just 266,000 jobs in April, far less than the 1 million payrolls economists were expecting.
- In the U.K., Boris Johnson's Conservative Party convincingly won a byelection in the northern English town of Hartlepool.
- It was another busy day for earnings in Europe with Adidas, BMW and Siemens among the major blue chips reporting their results.
LONDON — European stocks closed higher Friday as investors digested a fresh batch of quarterly earnings reports and economic data.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up by 0.8% provisionally, with tech shares adding 2.1% to lead gains as most sectors and major bourses held in positive territory.
On Wall Street, stocks were higher at the open Friday after a big miss on the April jobs report, with investors betting this will keep any potential unwinding of monetary stimulus at bay for some time.
The Labor Department said the U.S. economy added just 266,000 jobs in April, far less than the 1 million payrolls economists were expecting. The unemployment rate rose to 6.1%, higher than expected, amid an escalating shortage of available workers.
The report carries extra significance as the Federal Reserve assesses the strength of the labor market recovery in charting its course for monetary policy.
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Back in Europe, German exports grew 1.2% in March to notch an 11th consecutive month of expansion, new data from the country's Statistics Office revealed Friday, while industrial output in Europe's largest economy grew 2.5% month-on-month. French industrial output grew 0.8% in March.
In coronavirus news, people under the age of 40 in Britain will be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid concern over links to rare blood clots. Separately on Friday, the European Medicines Agency's safety committee said it was analyzing data on cases of a rare disorder affecting the nervous system following inoculation with AstraZeneca's vaccine.
Meanwhile, results began to emerge Friday from local and mayoral polls across the U.K. Boris Johnson's Conservative Party convincingly won a byelection in the northern English town of Hartlepool, cementing its strong footing across working class areas of the country that once belonged to the opposition Labour party.
Earnings in focus
It was another busy day for earnings in Europe with Adidas, BMW, Siemens and Credit Agricole among the major blue chips reporting before the bell.
Siemens raised its full-year profit and sales guidance on Friday for the second time this year as the company recovered sharply from a pandemic-induced downturn. The industrial conglomerate's shares climbed 2.1%.
Adidas also upped its sales outlook and reported a net income of 502 million euros for the first quarter of this year, up from 26 million euros in 2020. Shares of the German sportswear brand surged 8.4%.
Toward the top of the Stoxx 600, British aerospace company Meggitt jumped 8.3% on reports of a possible takeover.
BMW confirmed its full-year profit targets but cautioned that there could be volatility ahead due to rising raw material costs and supply disruptions. BMW shares were slightly higher Friday.
At the bottom of the European blue chip index, French petrol company Rubis fell 6.1% after its first-quarter earnings.
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— CNBC's Ryan Browne contributed to this report.