European Stocks Inch Higher

European Stocks Inch Higher

European Stocks Inch Higher

The FINANCIAL -- European stocks inched higher Friday, putting markets on course for a fourth straight session of gains.

The Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.2% in early trade. The index had fallen sharply at the start of the week as a slump in Chinese equities spilled over into global markets, but has more than recovered those losses over the rest of the week, according to Nasdaq.

U.S. markets have also rebounded. That said, stocks on Wall Street ended flat on Thursday after data showing the U.S. economy expanded at a slower pace than expected in the second quarter.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell again on Friday, closing out its worst month in over two years.

But investors in Europe shrugged off the latest decline, instead focusing on the latest batch of earnings reports.

Among companies on the Stoxx Europe 600 that have so far reported second-quarter results, 54% have exceeded profit expectations, according to FactSet data. That compares with 50% in the first quarter.

On Friday, shares in Airbus Group SE climbed after the plane maker reported a rise in second-quarter profit.

French bank BNP Paribas and chemical company Arkema SA both rose after better-than-expected results.

Steel pipe maker Vallourec SA fell after reporting a loss for the first half of the year.

In currency markets, the euro was steady against the dollar at $1.0940.

In commodities, Brent crude oil fell 0.9% to $52.82 a barrel. Gold was down 0.6% at $1,081.90 a troy ounce.