Stocks higher amid dovish Fed, Brexit uncertainty


A slew of negative economic data weighed on investor sentiment on the final trading day of the week. IHS Markit’s flash euro zone composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 51.3 in March from 51.9 the previous month — analysts were expecting a reading of 52.

French and German numbers also disappointed, with IHS’ PMI figures for both economies coming in below expectations. Germany’s manufacturing sector contracted for the third month in a row, data showed. The yield on the country’s 10-year government bond turned negative for the first time since October 2016 as a result.

Looking at individual stocks, Nokia tumbled to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after the Finnish telecommunications firm published its annual report. The firm said in the report Thursday that it did not plan to take on any new business in Iran this year, citing conflicting U.S. and European trade policies. Shares fell 4.7 percent.

On the other end, Aggreko climbed to the top of the European benchmark after Stifel upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold.” Shares of the U.K. power supplier rose 4 percent.

In corporate news, Deutsche Bank published its annual report Friday. Deutsche said in the report that management board members got their first bonuses in four years in 2018. The German lender has hit headlines recently amid merger talks with domestic rival Commerzbank. Shares initially rose, but came under pressure later in the morning.

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