Oil and gas group Shell was one of the gainers in the stock market in Amsterdam on Friday, helped by a rally in oil prices. In addition, the Reuters news agency reported that CEO Ben Van Beurden will leave next year, based on Shell insiders. Also, investors in Europe are mainly looking forward to the crucial jobs report released by the US government later in the day. The report is highly significant for the interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve, the umbrella body of US central banks.
Strong job growth in the U.S. leaves more room for the Fed to continue raising interest rates aggressively against high inflation. The central bank may raise interest rates again by three-quarters of a percentage point later this month. In recent days, fears that strong rate hikes by the Fed and other central banks could lead to a recession have fueled stock markets.
The AEX index in Amsterdam rose 0.5 percent to 670.34 points in early trade. The main index fell 2 percent on Thursday on interest rate fears. Midcap rose 0.4 percent to 911.15 points. Shares in Paris, Frankfurt and London rose as much as 0.9 percent.
Shell rose 1.1 percent. Van Beurden, 64, has worked at Shell his entire career. He has been heading the company since January 2014. Shell is already looking at the successors. Shell has announced it will sell its majority stake in a joint venture with ExxonMobil in California. It will receive about $2 billion from German asset manager IKAV for the 51.8 percent Shell held in Era.
Phillips also drew attention with minus 0.5 percent. Phillips is paying more than $24 million to U.S. prosecutors for allegedly misleading U.S. health insurance plans. With the settlement, the healthcare technology company and Justice in America put an end to the problem. Prosecutors alleged that a subsidiary of Philips paid bribes to suppliers of medical equipment.
Oil prices rose after Thursday’s sharp decline. U.S. crude was up 2.1 percent at $88.41 a barrel, while Brent was up 2 percent at $94.21.
The euro traded at $0.9977 against a close of $0.9940 in European equities a day earlier.
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