Investing.com - European stocks edged higher on Friday, as comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi continued to support, while markets awaited U.S. employment data later in the day for further indications on the strength of the country''s economic recovery.
During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 edged 0.16% higher, France’s CAC 40 eased up 0.11%, while Germany’s DAX added 0.19%.
Official data earlier showed that German factory orders rose rose 0.6% in February, exceeding expectations for a 0.1% gain. Factory orders in January were revised down to a 0.1% increase from a previously estimated 1.2% rise.
European equities had gained ground on Thursday after ECB President Draghi played down the risk of deflation in the euro zone, but added that the bank has not ruled out further policy action, including quantitative easing.
The comments came after the central bank left rates on hold at a record low 0.25%.
Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (BNPP.PAR) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PAR) slipped 0.05% and 0.14%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.XETRA) declined 0.42%
Among peripheral lenders, Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) lost 0.07% and 0.16% respectively, while Spanish bank BBVA (BBVA.MADRID) eased 0.02%.
Elsewhere, Paris-based Vivendi (VIV.PAR) dropped 0.59% as the company was set to hold a supervisory board meeting on Friday, moving closer to a decision over the sale of its SFR phone unit.
In London, FTSE 100 rose 0.34%, supported by gains in the financial sector.
Shares in Barclays (BARC.LSE) gained 0.35% and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LSE) advanced 0.54%, while HSBC Holdings (HSBA.LSE) and Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LSE) climbed 0.61% and 0.93% respectively.
The Royal Bank of Scotland earlier announced that it named Ewen Stevenson, from Credit Suisse Group, chief financial officer.
Easyjet (EZJ.LSE) was also on the upside, rallying 1.09%, after the discount airline said it flew 5.1 million passengers in March, up from 4.9 million a year earlier.
In the mining sector, Bhp Billiton (BLT.LSE) added 0.26% and Glencore Xstrata (GLEN.LSE) rose 0.34%, while Polymetal (POLYP.LSE) climbed 0.76% and Rio Tinto (RIO.LSE) jumped 0.96%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.10% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.13% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.15% increase.