September Brent crude oil futures rose, pushing stocks of Shell and BP higher. AstraZeneca rose after Nomura raised its recommendation on stock to "buy" from "neutral". BAT rose after UBS raised its rating on stock to "buy" from "neutral".
Germany's DAX Index, which had risen the previous 12 sessions, fell 6.00 to 4886.50 as German June retail sales fell 0.3% but May was revised sharply higher.
Volkswagen rose as second quarter operating profit rose 75%. Porsche rose after company reached agreement with 8,300 German workers guaranteeing their jobs through 2010 in exchange for more flexible working hours. Linde, which also reached a job saving labor accord, gained ground.
In Paris, the CAC 40 fell 10.52 to 4451.74 even though Eurozone July economic confidence much stronger than expected, flash CPI was in line with expectations. EADS, parent of Airbus, rose after Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the stock to "outperform" from "inline". Business Objects rose after company said its second quarter profit doubled from year ago.
Asian markets gained ground Friday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 41.29 points (0.35%) to 11,899.60 as Japanese equities were boosted by gains in the U.S. in the Thursday session on back of strong quarterly earnings from some big names. Locally, Matsushita Electric Industrial posted solid results. Bullish earnings sentiment was tempered and market upside capped by a poor first quarter performance from Sony. The broad-based TOPIX index rose 3.26 points, or 0.3%, to 1204.98..
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 67.66 points (0.46%) to 14,880.98, led by gains in CNOOC, HSBC Holdings and China Mobile. CNOOC has denied media reports out of Asia saying the company plans to drop its bid for UNOCAL.
in Korea, the KOSPI rose 6.57 points (0.59%) to 1111.29.
Stocks in Seoul rose on back of positive earnings from the U.S. and locally. Hyundai Motor climbed 6% and POSCO 3% after posting strong second quarter profits. But the broader market showed mild weakness.