European Markets Climb After Strong U.S. Jobs Report

The European markets struggled in early trade Friday, but broke out into positive territory following the release of the stronger than expected US jobs report. The rebound in crude oil and precious metal prices also helped to push the markets higher in the afternoon.

Job growth in the U.S. reaccelerated by much more than anticipated in the month of April after showing a notable slowdown in March, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday. The report said non-farm payroll employment jumped by 211,000 jobs in April after climbing by a downwardly revised 79,000 jobs in March.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 185,000 jobs compared to the addition of 98,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

With the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate edged down to 4.4 percent in April from 4.5 percent in March. The unemployment rate had been expected to tick up to 4.6 percent.

Traders will now shift their focus to the runoff election in France on Sunday. Opinion polls show centrist leader Emmanuel Macron as a clear winner over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, with latest Elabe poll for BFM TV and L’Express showing Macron defeating Le Pen by 62-38 percent of votes.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.57 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks increased 0.85 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.44 percent.

The DAX of Germany climbed 0.55 percent and the CAC 40 of France rose 1.12 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.68 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by 0.41 percent.

In Frankfurt, specialty chemicals firm Evonik fell 0.56 percent after its first-quarter net income fell 33 percent to 160 million euros from 240 million euros last year.

In Paris, JCDecaux sank 4.14 percent. The outdoor advertising firm reported a 1 percent drop in Q1 revenue due to weakness in its billboard and transport…

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