European stock markets headed lower on Friday, with the benchmark index heading for its first weekly loss since January, as investors remained cautious ahead of nonfarm-payrolls data from the U.S.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index lost 0.3% to 336.32, setting it on track for a 0.5% loss on the week. On Thursday, the benchmark nudged a small gain, after paring solid gains on European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's failure to offer consolation to economists and investors worried about low inflation in the euro area. At the bank's monthly policy meeting, the Governing Council decided to make no changes to interest rates or launch further easing measures.
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Leading decliners on Friday, shares of Getinge AB tumbled 15% after the medical-technology company said its profit trend for the first quarter will be weak due to a lower level of invoicing.
Shares of Fugro NV slid 5.8% after the oil-field-services firm posted 2013 earnings that missed expectations.
Shares of Telecom Italia SpA fell 0.9% after the company said it has decided to scrap a dividend on ordinary shares.
Aside from corporate news, the highly anticipated nonfarm-payrolls report from the U.S. was the main event on Friday. After two sluggish readings for December and January, investors are braced for another soft jobs report likely to be distorted by the extremely harsh winter in large parts of the country. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect 140,000 new jobs to have been added to the economy in February, which is better than the disappointing 113,000 in January, but still below the 2013 average. The data come out at 1:30 p.m. in London, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street.
In Europe, most indexes traded lower, weighed by heavyweight drug companies. Shares of Novartis AG fell 0.5%, GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) lost 0.8%, and Novo Nordisk AS (NVO) gave up 0.8%.
Among country-specific indexes, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index declined 0.4% to 6,759.25, while France's CAC 40 index slipped 0.3% to 4,402.58. Germany's DAX 30 index lost 0.9% to 9,452.45.