European stocks declined on Friday, but are on track for gains for the second week in a row, as investors await more indications of progress in implementing US stimulus measures, while rallies in ASML and ING shares curbed the decline.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.1 percent, after gaining nearly 4 percent since the start of the month.
ING Group jumped 1.5 percent after the Dutch bank’s largest pre-tax profit exceeded expectations in the fourth quarter of last year, at 1.05 billion euros ($ 1.27 billion).
ASML Holding rose 1.5 percent after the Dutch hardware maker said a chip shortage that is slowing auto production was a symptom of a wider increase in demand, putting pressure on suppliers in the semiconductor sector.
The European technology stocks index rose 0.4 percent, to be one of a limited number of gainers in early trade.
Market dealers are hoping that lawmakers will pass a proposed stimulus bill worth $ 1.9 trillion in the United States soon, as data show a faltering recovery in the US labor market, which strengthens the justifications for demanding it.
The article, European stocks, down 0.1%, in early trade was written in the stock exchange newspaper.