LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stock indices were mixed on Friday ahead of U.S. nonfarm payrolls figures that will be scrutinized for clues as to the timing of the Federal Reserve's almost universally anticipated rate rise.
Consensus forecasts point to an increase of 240,000 in nonfarm jobs in February, after a 257,000 gain in January. Employment has increased for the past 11 months. The data will be released at 8:30 a.m. EST.
The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.17% to 6,949.52. In Frankfurt the DAX gained 0.12% to 11,517.68, and in Paris the CAC 40 was up 0.05% at 4,966.07.
In London, package tour operator Thomas Cook Group (TCKGY) surged 20% on news that acquisitive Chinese insurer Fosun International (FOSUF) has taken a 5% stake as part of an alliance between the two companies and plans to lift its holding to 10% by buying further shares on the market. Fosun has just won a long-running bidding warn for France's Club Mediterranée and is also reportedly part of a consortium led by Afren founder Bert Cooper putting together a recapitalization proposal for the cash-strapped oil and gas explorer.
Resources industry equipment maker Weir Group (WEIGY) led the FTSE 100, rising almost 5% on bid speculation.
In further evidence London's IPO market is recovering but has yet to again the euphoria of a year ago, Advent International-backed retailer DFS Furniture priced its IPO toward the bottom of an indicative range to achieve a market value of 543.2 million pounds ($826.1 million). Advent will for the time being retain a majority holding the Doncaster, England company , whose stock edged up just 1 pence on Friday morning.
In Lisbon, Banco BPI (BBSPY) was up almost 5% after the lender's board rejected an attempt from its leading shareholder, CaixaBank (CAIXY) of Spain, to take control of the lender. The Caixa offer valued the whole of BPI's equity at 1.94 billion euros ($2.2 billion) but the bank's No. 2 shareholder, Isabel dos Santos, this week urged BPI to explore a domestic merger with Banco Comercial Portugues instead.
In Frankfurt, Adidas (ADDYY) extended Thursday's 3.7% gain, rising almost 2% after forecasting a profit rebound alongside results on Thursday that showed its fourth-quarter loss had widened 14-fold.
In Paris, food retailer Carrefour (CRRFY) also extended Thursday's rally, gaining another 2% after predicting in Thursday's full-year results announcement that organic sales growth would accelerate. It has risen for four out of the past five days and was the lead gainer on the Eurostoxx 50 index.
In Tokyo, FamilyMart (FYRTY) and UNY Group Holdings said on Friday they are working on a potential merger to create a stronger convenience-store rival to 7-11 operator Seven & I Holdings Co. Ltd.
Consumer electronics group Sharp (SHCAY) closed on 1.7% on speculation about an equity infusion from a turnaround vehicle.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed up 1.17% at 18,971.00 and the Topix rose 1.12% to 1,540.84. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng slid 0.12% to 24,1644.00, while mainland Chinese indices posted larger losses on worries about the deteriorating growth outlook.