European Markets Lackluster on U.S. Independence Day

LONDON -- Following earlier gains Friday in Asia when investors responded to a strong U.S. jobs report the previous day, markets in Europe were lackluster as Wall Street celebrated the Fourth of July holiday.

On Thursday, investors had a lot to digest not least the news that the U.S. economy generated a greater than expected 288,000 jobs in June. Though that increase in itself prompted some analysts to think the Federal Reserve may start raising interest rates sooner than anticipated, many noted that subdued wages may hold the central bank's hand for a while longer -- a potentially positive backdrop for stock markets.

"Although the non-farm payrolls reading was impressive, the reality remains that wage growth is still lackluster and with this in mind, the Fed again has the scope to keep interest rates on hold for a while longer," said Joao Monteiro, analyst at Valutrades.

After the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 17,000 Thursday for the first time, Asian shares got a lift Friday.

Among the main indexes, the Nikkei 225 average, the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, gained 0.6 percent to finish at 15,437.13 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1 percent to 23,546.36.

In Europe, the mood was much flatter with the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares flat at 6,868 and Germany's DAX 0.1 percent lower at 10,021. The CAC-40 in France was 0.1 percent lower too at 4,484.

The market tone was equally subdued elsewhere with the euro 0.2 percent lower at $1.3588 and the dollar 0.2 percent down at 102.06 yen.

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