By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

Well-received earnings on both sides of the Atlantic drove a gain in European stocks on Friday, helping to rebound from a rough session.

After ending Thursday with its biggest percentage decline in about three weeks, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.3% to 390.76.

The U.K. FTSE 100 added 0.8% to 7,547.09, the French CAC 40 rose 0.5% to 5,607.91, and the German DAX rose 0.4% to 12,408.52.

"The move up in equities in the first half was largely driven by interest rates but there are tentative signs that growth expectations are bottoming out: this week, while macro data have been weak and the earnings season mild, sentiment has improved towards some selected cyclicals," said strategists at Goldman Sachs.

What's moving markets

Earnings beats for Google owner Alphabet and Intel helped lift U.S. stocks on Friday, with second-quarter GDP data coming in slightly ahead of forecasts.

The cloud over the lack of consensus at the European Central Bank lingered over markets, though most expect Mario Draghi to push through interest-rate cuts before he hands the baton to Christine Lagarde who takes over as president of the ECB. "We think Draghi will use his last two press conferences ... to push through some easing and pave the way for Christine Lagarde toward a potential sovereign QE program, if it becomes necessary," said Ricardo Garcia, chief economist for the eurozone for the UBS Chief Investment Office.

After Thursday's wild ride, the euro traded at $1.1124, vs. $1.1149. The Trump administration has ruled out intervening in currency markets, White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told CNBC on Friday.

Focus stocks

Vodafone Group (VOD.LN) (VOD.LN) shares jumped over 9% as the mobile phone giant set out plans to separate its European tower infrastructure business (, possibly by an initial public offering. It also reported a slight decline in fiscal first-quarter revenue and confirmed its earnings guidance.

Vivendi (VIV.FR) shares gained 5% as the French media conglomerate reported an operating profit rise of 28% on a 7% gain in comparable revenue in the first half. Universal Music Group drove Vivendi's profitability, on new releases from Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and the Japanese band King & Prince, as well as continued sales of the soundtrack from A Star is Born and albums from Queen.

Pearson (PSON.LN) shares rose 5%, as the educational publisher lifted its adjusted earnings per share guidance for the year (, helped by lower finance charges and taxes than anticipated and sales growth at its online degree program unit.

Nestle shares (NESN.EB) rose 2.1% as pet-care sales and the launch of Starbucks products in 14 markets helped drive what it calls underlying EPS by 15% in the first half and comparable sales by 3.6% (


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 26, 2019 11:06 ET (15:06 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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