European stocks were higher on Friday morning after a fresh wave of global interest rate hikes exacerbated fears about the outlook for economic growth.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.7% during early morning deals, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
Utilities stocks led the gains, up more than 1.5%, while travel and leisure stocks dropped 0.6%.
Germany’s Uniper rose to the top of the European benchmark. Shares of the embattled gas giant jumped over 9.6% after Fortum, Finland’s majority owner of Uniper, reportedly said it was forced to consider all options to ensure the security of European energy markets.
Uniper was the first German energy company to sound the alarm over soaring energy bills due to reduced supplies of Russian gas. It asked the German government for a bailout last week.
Sweden’s medtech company AddLife fell to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after second-quarter results. Shares of the Stockholm-listed firm tumbled 10%.
In Asia, Chinese markets were slightly lower after Beijing’s gross domestic product growth figures came in weaker than anticipated. The world’s second-largest economy eked out second-quarter GDP growth of 0.4% from a year ago, missing expectations as the economy struggled to shake off the impact of Covid controls.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast growth of 1% in the second quarter.
That comes after a number of central banks raised interest rates this week to tackle soaring inflation. The Bank of Canada surprised markets with a full percentage point rate hike, while central banks in South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and the Philippines all took action to tighten monetary policy.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is also seen stepping up its monetary policy action after an unexpectedly hot inflation print.
On Wall Street, U.S. stock futures rose on Friday morning following a disappointing start to the second-quarter earnings season.
Back in Europe, political uncertainty returned to Rome on Thursday after the country’s president rejected Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s offer to resign.
Draghi said he would quit as Italian leader after a political party in his ruling coalition refused to participate in a confidence vote earlier in the day. Italian President Sergio Mattarella rejected Draghi’s resignation and asked him to address Parliament to get a clear picture of the political situation.
On the data front, a final reading of Italian inflation data for June is scheduled for release at around 9 a.m. London time.
— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.