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European stocks edge mostly lower ahead of key U.S. labor market data

By Scott Kanowsky

Investing.com -- European equities were broadly lower on Friday, as investors poured over disappointing results from major tech sector players and looked ahead to key U.S. labor market data.

At 04:20 ET (09:20 GMT), the regional Stoxx 600 dropped by 0.30%, the DAX Index in Germany traded 0.67%, and the CAC 40 in France lost 0.41%. The outlier was the FTSE 100 in the U.K., which gained 0.18%.

Shares in Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google-parent Alphabet Inc Class A (NASDAQ:GOOGL) all slipped following the release of their latest earnings after the close of trading on Wall Street on Thursday. The moves disrupted a surge in positive sentiment around risk-on assets that stemmed from softer language from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday about the inflation outlook.

Apple posted fiscal first-quarter results that missed analyst expectations, pressured by weaker iPhone sales amid a weaker economic backdrop and production issues in China.

Earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter at Alphabet were also hit by slowing online ad spending. The company warned that current-quarter results would reflect a hit from costs related to job cuts.

Amazon.com beat revenue expectations for the fourth quarter, but top-line performance from its key cloud business, Amazon Web Services, was slightly below estimates.

Meanwhile, traders remained cautious in anticipation of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls reading for January. Data released on Thursday indicated some strength in the jobs market, raising concerns that robust employment could keep U.S. inflation higher for longer and, in turn, impact the Fed's future interest rate path.

These factors played into dealmaking in Asia. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was the worst performer for the day, falling 1.36% on losses in technology stocks.

Chinese stocks sank as well after mixed economic data drummed up worries about a speedy recovery in the world's second-largest economy after the lifting of its strict zero-COVID policy. While China’s services sector rebounded sharply in January after four months of declines, a private survey showed that smaller-scale manufacturing businesses were still struggling in the face of rising COVID-19 cases and lingering supply chain issues.

In European corporate news, shares in Sanofi SA (EPA:SASY) saw their biggest loss since November after the French drugmaker's fourth quarter results missed expectations due to weak demand for its vaccines division.

But shares in CaixaBank SA (BME:CABK) were lifted following the Spanish lender's announcement that it will consider more extraordinary capital distributions in 2024.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude futures were 0.26% higher at $76.08 a barrel by 04:20 ET, while the Brent contract was up 0.24% at $82.37 per barrel.

Additionally, gold futures dipped by 0.05% to $1,929.75/oz, while the EUR/USD was largely unchanged at 1.0911.

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