LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets began Friday mixed as the usual run of bad news from oil and gas and parts of the banking world weighed heavily in London, while better news from French bank BNP Paribas buoyed the market in Paris. By late morning, however, all the main European indices were showing red ink, despite the news that eurozone unemployment fell to its lowest level last month since January 2012 and that inflation in the zone is at zero rather than in negative territory.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 6,376.32, while in Paris the CAC 40 was down 0.22% 4,874.85. In Frankfurt, the DAX was off 0.26% at 10,772.80.
In London, oil and gas producer BG Group (BRGYY) , which is preparing for a takeover by Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A - Get Report) next year, dropped sharply, but then bounced back after announcing third-quarter profits were down to $466 million compared with $1.98 billion in the same period last year. Revenue dropped from $4.59 billion to $4.15 billion.
Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) , which Friday announced the overnight sale of its remaining 20.9% stake in Citizens financial Group at an undisclosed price, fell nearly 2.5% but then also recovered as the market tried to make heads or tails of its third-quarter results. The bank said it made a £952 million ($1.46 billion) net profit, largely through booking a gain of £1.15 billion on the previous sell-down of Citizens. But it also took heavy write-downs on its restructuring and litigation and conduct costs. It made a third quarter operating loss of £134 million -- compared with a profit of £1.1billion the previous year. By mid-morning the stock was down 1.37% at 316.3 pence.
The biggest FTSE 100 loser in London was International Consolidated Airlines Group (BABWF) , owner of British Airways and Spain's Iberia, and most recently Ireland's Aer Lingus. The stock plunged 4.52% to 570.5, apparently on profit taking, after the group presented strong third quarter results. It said operating profit for the third quarter, excluding Aer Lingus, which only became part of the group on August 18, was up from €900 million ($990 million) in 2014 to €1.205 billion. Aer Lingus made an operating profit of €45 million in the six weeks to the end of September.
But on the FTSE 250 there were growls and howls -- not because of Halloween, but because furry-and-slithery-animal groomers and accessory sellers Pets at Home Group slid down 7.46% to 288 pence. The retailer, formerly owned by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, said growth had slowed as trading in parts of the business had been weaker than expected.
In Belgium, giant brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) announced better than expected sales of premium lager beers, which helped it to a third-quarter profit of $4.4 billion. The company made no further comment about its hopes for a takeover of rival SABMiller but has until Nov. 4 to make a formal offer. AB InBev was up 1.72% at 109.30.
In Paris, French bank BNP-Paribas picked up 1.88% to €55.32 on a 14% rise in third quarter profit compared with the same period last year. Net income was €1.83 billion, well ahead of analysts' expectations. Like other banks, BNP is reorganizing its investment banking activities.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 finished the day up 0.78% at 19,083.10 while the Topix closed up 0.72% at 1,558.20. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.79% to 22.640.04. The Shanghai Composite finished down 0.14% at 3,382.561, while the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite in China ended the day up just 0.02% at 3,534.08.