(MENAFN - AFP) European stock markets steadied and the euro fell from recent heights on Friday amid mixed regional economic data and weak earnings updates, traders said.
It comes at the end of a week of solid gains for European indices and the single currency, won on the back of positive Chinese manufacturing data and expectations that the Federal Reserve will prolong its stimulus policy for a while longer.
In midday trading, Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.21 percent to stand at 8,999.64 points after briefly topping the 9,000 mark for the first time ever.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index edged up 0.06 percent to 6,717.34 points and the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.24 percent to 4,265.22.
Trading was subdued "... as major corporate earnings in the zone faltered and German IFO (business confidence) unexpectedly fell," said CMC Markets trader Toby Morris.
"Across the range of firms missing revenue targets for the third quarter, one factor increasingly blamed is the impact of a higher euro
"...Firms with an active client base in emerging economies are hit the hardest, with weaker currencies magnified in South America and India," he added in a note to clients.
Business confidence in Germany -- Europe's biggest economy -- took a surprise fall in October after rising for the previous five months, data showed on Friday.
The Ifo index fell to 107.4 points from 107.7 in September and below the 108 points forecast by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
The European single currency reached a new two-year high at 1.3823 in Asian trading hours before retreating in the wake of the German data.
It stood at 1.3795 in London midday deals, which compared with 1.3798 late in New York on Thursday.
The dollar dipped to 97.06 yen from 97.29 on Thursday.
Britain's pound was steady at 85.18 pence to the euro, while it dropped to 1.6193.
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold edged up to 1,345.11 an ounce from 1,344.75 on Thursday.
European Central Bank executive board member Joerg Asmussen said in an interview on Friday that he had no "specific concern" over the euro exchange rate, as the single currency rises against the dollar.
Separate data published on Friday showed that Britain's economy grew at the fastest rate for more than three years during the third quarter.
Gross domestic product (GDP) -- the total value of goods and services produced in the economy -- rose by 0.8 percent in the July-September period.
That compared with GDP growth of 0.7 percent in the second quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
While Britain's government welcomed the news, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned that the country's economic recovery needed to be more broad-based.
Volvo, Electrolux slash jobs
Swedish industrial heavyweights Volvo trucks and Electrolux on Friday announced plans to cut a total of 4,000 jobs worldwide, alongside news of disappointing earnings for the third quarter. Both Volvo and Electrolux saw their shares fall by about 7.0 percent in value.
The two companies, major players in the auto and home appliance industries, will each axe 2,000 jobs, they said in separate statements.
The world's biggest chemicals company, Germany's BASF, meanwhile announced better-than-expected net profit in the third quarter and held to its targets for the year.
Between July and September, the group booked net income of 1.1 billion euros, up a sharp 18 percent year on year.
BASF shares rose 1.19 percent in afternoon trading to 75.05 euros on the news even though chief executive Kurt Bock said the world economic context "will remain difficult."
Asian stock markets meanwhile closed lower on Friday, despite a positive lead from Wall Street overnight.
Tokyo tumbled 2.75 percent, as the strong yen dragged down Japanese stocks, traders said.
A strong yen is a negative for Japanese exporters as it makes their products less competitive abroad and erode income when repatriated.