European shares edge up

By Brian Gorman

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – European stocks inched higher late on Friday morning, in cautious trading ahead of more U.S. bellwethers reporting second-quarter earnings, including Bank of America (BAC.N: ) and Citigroup (C.N: ).

Oil major BP (BP.L: ) rose 4.3 percent after saying it has capped its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico.

At 1003 GMT (6:03 a.m. EDT), the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top European shares was up 0.1 percent at 1,035.05 points, on track to record a weekly gain of more than 1 percent.

“We’re in a holding pattern, waiting for more Q2 earnings and what companies will say about the third quarter,” said Andy Lynch, fund manager at Schroders.

“We’re also waiting for the stress tests. Everyone assumes banks are going to pass them, but there’s always a risk.”

BP said late on Thursday it had stopped the leak with a containment cap installed three days earlier.

The stock is still down more than 36 percent from its mid-April peak.

Banking stocks were mostly lower, ahead of earnings from Bank of America and Citigroup, as investors are eager to see if they will confirm the positive trend in the sector signaled by JPMorgan’s (JPM.N: ) results on Thursday, and as worries on stress tests persisted.

Barclays (BARC.L: ), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: ) and HSBC (HSBA.L: ) fell between 0.4 and 2.2 percent.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, said on Friday the stress tests on the European banks should not reveal any “catastrophes” but the reviews should be tough.

Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index (.FTSE: ), Germany’s DAX index (.GDAXI: ) and France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: ) rose between 0.4 and 0.9 percent.

Investors were also bracing for earnings from General Electric Co (GE.N: ), seen as a harbinger for the global economy.

The conglomerate is expected to break a nine-quarter streak of earnings declines on Friday, but investors’ focus will be on what the company has to say about its prospects over the next few quarters.

Also on the earnings front, France’s Carrefour (CARR.PA: ), the world’s second largest retailer, was down 0.8 percent as investors digested a quarterly sales release that offered a mixed bag of news.

(Editing by Hans Peters)

European shares edge up