July 31, 2020 / 7:29 AM / 12 days ago

Nokia, BNP earnings prop European stocks as growth worries linger

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July 31 (Reuters) - European shares were largely flat on Friday after encouraging earnings updates from Nokia, BNP Paribas and others countered concerns about a global economic recovery as coronavirus cases surged globally.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was on course to end the month flat-to-lower after weak economic data and concerns about the 2020 U.S. presidential election sent the index to a one-month low on Thursday.

Concerns about a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in Europe weighed, with Paris-listed shares edging lower even as data showed the French economy contracted by a smaller-than-expected rate in the second quarter.

Euro zone GDP numbers are due at 0900 GMT.

In earnings-driven moves, Finnish telecom network equipment maker Nokia surged 10.6% to the top of STOXX 600 as it reported an unexpected rise in its underlying profit.

Technology stocks were the top gainers, up 1.6% after Wall Street’s tech giants, Apple, Amazon and Facebook, reported forecast-beating results overnight.

BNP Paribas rose 3.9% as it earned a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, boosted by a surge in fixed income trading and strong demand for corporate finance. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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