European shares inched higher on Friday, supported by gains in the insurance sector following a well-received update from German heavyweight Allianz.
The STOXX 600 added 0.2 per cent by 0818 GMT, as stronger financial and materials stocks helped the pan-European index bounce back after suffering its biggest one-day loss, according to Reuters.
Allianz was the biggest single boost to the STOXX, up 1.3 per cent, sending Europe’s insurance index up 0.7 per cent.
The German insurance giant posted a 17 per cent decline in net profit and provided a slightly less rosy outlook for full year earnings as a spate of natural catastrophes weighed.
Traders said results at Allianz, which also announced a 2 billion euro share buyback plan, were in line with expectations and the new guidance was within an earlier range.
Its gains lifted the euro STOXX 50 .STOXX50E 0.2 per cent higher. The euro zone blue chip index was, however, on track to post a weekly fall following 10 straight weeks of gains.
Leonardo slumped 16 per cent after the state-controlled Italian aerospace and the defence company cut its 2017 targets, prompting a raft of broker downgrades on the stock.
Around 74 per cent of companies on the MSCI EMU .dMIEM00000PUS index have reported results so far with earnings beats at 51 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Earnings beats on the broader MSCI Europe .dMIEU00000PUS index are at 55 per cent, while in the US S&P 500 beats are at 72 per cent.