European equities rise on expectations for US jobs

European stock markets rose Friday on positive expectations for crucial US jobs data, with the exception of Madrid which was hit by news of falling profits at the country's crisis-hit banks, dealers said.

London's FTSE 100 index of top companies gained 0.41 percent to 6,276.91 points in midday deals as investors were also cheered by positive quarterly results for telecoms firm BT and a slight expansion in manufacturing in January.

Frankfurt's DAX added 0.15 percent to 7,788.10 points and in Paris the CAC gained 0.85 percent to 3,764.38.

"European equities have taken a positive lurch forward this morning, with major benchmarks inflating ahead of the crucial jobs number due this afternoon," said David White, financials trader at Spreadex.

Investors were awaiting the key US non-farm payrolls figures due at 1330 GMT, with markets expecting the world's biggest economy to have added 160,000 jobs in January compared with the previous month.

Elsewhere on Friday, the euro surged to $1.3675, its highest level since November 2011, compared with $1.3579 late on Thursday in New York. Gold prices edged upwards to $1,665.45 an ounce from $1,664.75 on the London Bullion Market.

"The PMI data for the eurozone also provided positive support, pointing to a direction of return of growth," said Anita Paluch, trader at Gekko Markets.

Data company Markit said its monthly Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was 47.9 for January, indicating a slowing in the decline of manufacturing in the single currency area. Britain's figure was 50.8, showing expansion for a second month.

Madrid's IBEX shares index meanwhile slumped 1.36 percent to 8,249.00 after CaixaBank, Spain's biggest bank by assets under management, said 2012 net profit plunged 7.82 percent to 230 million euros ($312 million) on provisions for possible real-estate losses.

Fellow lender BBVA said its net profit for 2012 had dropped 44.2 percent to 1.676 billion euros for the same reason.

Debt-laden Spanish builder FCC meanwhile shed 7.73 percent in late morning trade to 9.19 euros.

In London, telecoms firm BT was the biggest gainer, putting on 5.35 percent to reach 261.9 pence after announcing a rise in underlying profits.

The firm said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 2.0 percent to £1.55 billion ($2.46 billion, 1.79 billion euros) in the three months to December, compared with the same period of 2011.

Drinks company Diageo was up 2.48 percent to 1,923.5 pence, continuing a strong performance after an announcement Thursday that net profits soared 61 percent in the first half of its financial year.

The biggest loser was food ingredients business Tate & Lyle, down 2.77 percent to 790 pence after a cautious third-quarter update saying it expected "modest progress" over the full year.

Royal Dutch Shell was down 1.20 percent to 2214 pence after announcing Thursday that net profits sank 14 percent last year as the group battled headwinds including volatile oil and gas prices.

European equities had fallen on Thursday as dealers fretted over the shrinking US economy and the flood of company earnings news.

Asian markets were mixed on Friday, with Tokyo boosted by further weakness in the yen, while official data indicated Chinese manufacturing activity grew further in January but had moderated.

Shanghai stocks jumped 1.41 percent, Tokyo rose 0.47 percent, and Sydney climbed 0.87 percent, but Seoul eased 0.21 percent and Hong Kong was flat.

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    B22.SI
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    5GJ.SI
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    5ME.SI
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    5GF.SI
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