MILAN: European shares were little changed in early deals on Friday, but were on track to end higher for the second week in a row, helped by a string of solid earnings updates.
Allianz rose 3.3 percent after Europe's largest insurer proposed spending 3 billion euros on buying back its own shares after posting a higher than expected profit growth.
The STOXX 600 was flat, while UK's FTSE fell 0.1 percent and Germany's DAX was flat. The pan-European index is up 0.8 percent so far this week and remains near its highest level in 13 months.
Europe's insurance stocks were the biggest sectoral gainer, helped by Allianz but also by gains in Dutch insurer Aegon, which rose 4 percent after a stronger than expected pretax profit growth.
Top loser on the STOXX was Vopak, down 8.4 percent, after the Dutch oil and chemical storage company said it does not expect core profit to grow this year.