- US adds more jobs than expected in February
- US jobless rate increases
- German industrial output rises
- Russia snubs Obama warning
FTSE 100: -1.12%
CAC 40: -1.15%
FTSE MIB: -0.98%
IBEX 35: -1.32%
Stoxx 600: -1.25%
European stocks declined as investors weighed data from the US Labor Department which revealed employers added more jobs than forecast, but the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose.
The US non-farm payrolls report showed jobs increased by 175,000 in February, compared with a revised 129,000 a month earlier, surprising analysts who had predicted 150,000. Revisions to the previous two months of data added a further 25,000 jobs.
The jobless rate increased to 6.7% from 6.6% though this largely reflected a rise in the labour force.
Senior US Economist Paul Dales from Capital Economics said that the data "pretty much guarantees that the Fed will taper its asset purchases further at the mid-March meeting, especially as payrolls would have been stronger if it wasn't for the unusually severe weather".
The report follows unofficial data earlier in the week from ADP which showed that private-sector payrolls rose 139,000 in February, falling short of economists' estimates for a gain of 160,000 jobs. Meanwhile, claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 26,000 to a three-month low of 323,000.
The Federal Reserve is monitoring the labour market as it prepares for its next policy meeting on March 18th and 19th.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen has indicated that the central bank is likely to continue reducing monthly asset purchases at each meeting until ending it all together later this year.
In other US news on Friday, a report from the Commerce Department showed the US trade deficit widened slightly in January to $39.1bn from December's revised $39bn deficit.
Exports climbed 0.6% to $192.8bn and imports also rose 0.6% to $231.6bn.
German industrial production
Germany's industrial production expanded at a 0.8% month-on-month in January, beating the consensus forecast for a 0.7% increase.
December's figure was also revised to a 0.1% rise from the prior reading of a 0.6% drop.
In year-on-year terms, January factory production rose by 5.0%, beating expectations for growth of 3.9%. December's data was also revised to 3.4% growth from the prior reading of a 2.6% advance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin today disregarded a warning from US President Barack Obama over Moscow's military intervention.
Moscow has said it will "not accept the language of sanctions and threats" from the US and the European Union.
The crisis escalated on Thursday when Ukraine's Crimea region voted to join Russia. A referendum will be held on March 16th.
Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said today that "no-one in the civilised world will recognise the decision of the so-called referendum of the so-called Crimean authorities".
Yatsenyuk also said Ukraine was open to talks with Russia as long as it withdrew its troops and abided by international agreements.
Mining groups Fresnillo, Antofagasta, Anglo American and Randgold were registering losses on fears that the first onshore bond default in China would weigh on the price of copper as it is often used as collateral for loans.
Airbus Group slumped as British Airways said one of its Airbus jets suffered an engine surge during a flight to France, forcing the pilot to return to London's Heathrow airport.
FLSmidth & Co. gained as the Danish mining-equipment supplier named Lars Vestergaard as its new Chief Finance Officer to replace Ben Guren.
Getinge edged lower as the Swedish maker of sterilisation systems forecast first-quarter pre-tax profit that missed market expectations.
Air France advanced after reporting strong February traffic statistics and load factor.
Fugro dropped after the oil-field surveyor posted full-year revenue that fell short of analysts' forecasts.
The euro rose 0.02% to $1.3864.
Brent crude futures climbed $0.643 to $108.800 per barrel, according to the ICE.