European shares edged slightly lower on Friday, but that did little to change their biggest weekly percentage jump in more than three months on hopes that easing inflation would allow the U.S. Federal Reserve to pause rate hikes soon.
After five sessions of gains, the pan-European STOXX 600 index closed 0.1% lower, as oil and gas stocks dropped 2.1% on falling crude prices.
The index has gained nearly 3% this week, marking its best week since the end of March, recouping almost all of last week’s losses.
“We have also had central bankers saying that the evidence that inflation is moving back to their target in a quick manner is still not enough, being more focused on the risks”, said Elwin de Groot, head of macro strategy at Rabobank.
Reports on U.S. inflation readings stoked speculation that the economy had entered a disinflation phase and the Fed could pause its tightening soon after delivering a 25 basis points rate hike in July.
Euro zone government bond yields have also fallen as traders started to pare back rate hike bets from the European Central Bank, according to analysts.
“Short-term interest rate markets for the ECB are seeing perhaps one, maybe two more interest rate hikes this year,” said Giles Coghlan, chief market analyst at HYCM.
Data showed consumer prices in Sweden grew faster than expected in June, adding pressure on the central bank to tighten policy further.
The rate-sensitive technology sector index added 6% for the week, its best performance since January. The index also closed at its highest level since late January 2022.
Miners fell 1.0% on the day but remained the second best weekly sectoral performer, with gains of 5.7%, as metal prices got a boost from a weaker dollar..
All major European sector indexes were higher for the week.
JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citi and BlackRock kicked off the U.S. reporting season with better-than-expected results, with all eyes now on euro zone company earnings.
Telecom firms fell 1.3%, with Nokia falling more than 9% after lowering its full-year results outlook.
Its Swedish rival Ericsson fell 10.6% after reporting a 62% slump in second-quarter adjusted operating profit.
Swiss private investment firm Partners Group jumped 12.0% after reporting H1 assets under management growth above expectations.
Swedish food retailer Axfood gained 8.1% after reporting retail sales growth in the second quarter despite a decline in inflation.