European Shares Hold Steady After Mixed China Data

(RTTNews) - European stocks advanced on Friday, as investors took mixed trade data from China in their stride and looked ahead to the start of the U.S. corporate earnings season, with JP Morgan Chase & Co (JP Morgan) and Wells Fargo & Co set to report their financial results later in the day.

Official data showed today that China's exports rose 14.2 percent in March from a year earlier, beating analysts' expectations and marking the strongest growth in five months.

However, imports dropped an annual 7.6 percent, worse than analysts' forecasts for a 1.3 percent fall and widening from February's 5.2 percent fall.

Closer home, a Eurostat report showed that Eurozone industrial output fell by less than expected in February.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was virtually unchanged at 386.84 in opening deals after rising marginally in the previous session.

The German DAX was moving up 0.4 percent, France's CAC 40 index was rising 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up half a percent.

Covestro rallied 3.2 percent. The Bayer spinoff said that it is on a long-term and profitable growth track and remains well positioned and highly profitable.

Spanish bank Banco Santander gained 0.7 percent after announcing an offer to buy all shares of Santander Mexico it doesn't own.

UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank, rose half a percent despite saying it is one of the banks accused of running a cartel in trading euro zone government bonds between 2007 and 2012.

Miner Anglo American rose 0.8 percent, Antofagasta rallied more than 2 percent and Glencore added 2.7 percent after data showed China's iron ore imports rose in March.

Shares of online trading platform Plus500 slumped 23 percent after the company announced a big drop in quarterly revenue.
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