Europe Stocks Little Changed as Investors Weigh U.S. Data, Syria

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Worldwide Reaction to U.S. Military Strikes on Syria

European stocks ended the session little changed as investors weighed mixed labor-market data and the U.S. military strike against Syria.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.1 percent at the close, after earlier sliding as much as 0.5 percent. Miners and telecommunications companies led losses, while personal and household-goods shares advanced. The European benchmark ended the week little changed after a 1.2 percent advance last week.

  • Labor Department data showed U.S. payroll gains slowed in March, while the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped to the lowest in almost a decade. The 98,000 increase compares with a median forecast of 180,000 in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
  • The U.S. missile strike was “limited,” and “doesn’t create new uncertainties” in the short term, Paul Christopher, global market strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said by phone. “Syria is a factor investors pay attention to, but the main focus shifts to U.S. economic data.”
  • Global financial assets earlier today reflected risk-off sentiment after the U.S. launched its first military strike under President Donald Trump’s administration, accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime of using poison gas to kill scores of civilians. 
  • “Global equities have just had their best quarter in nearly four years,” strategists at HSBC wrote in a note. “Valuations are full. Markets need a pause for breath and some near-term earnings validation.”

— With assistance by Elena Popina

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