And as a reminder that any E.C.B. action could meet resistance from the euro zone’s richest member, Germany’s central bank said Friday it remained opposed to massive purchases of government bonds by the E.C.B.
Meanwhile, European stocks registered little initial reaction to economic data released in Washington Friday showing the U.S. economy grew at an annual pace of only 1.5 percent in the second quarter — the slowest growth since last year’s third quarter.
In Spain, just over 5.69 million people ended the second quarter jobless, raising the unemployment rate to a record 24.6 percent, according to the latest national employment statistics published Friday. That compared with 24.4 percent in the first quarter,
Youth unemployment rose to 53 percent in the second quarter, up 1.3 percentage points from the previous quarter and 7 percentage points from a year ago.
The rise in Spanish unemployment underlines the challenge faced by the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to turn around an economy that is sinking further into recession and clean up public finances. As part of a new €65 billion austerity package announced earlier this year, the government is also set to lower unemployment benefits.
The government was expected later Friday to approve new sanctions against fiscal fraud, including fraudulent claims for social security and other benefits.
Some of Spain’s leading banks reported significantly lower earnings Friday, largely the result of having to set aside more money to cover loans that could default.
CaixaBank said its first-half profit fell 80 percent to €166 million as it set aside an additional €3.735 billion against problem real estate loans. Banco Popular reported a 42 percent decline in first-half profit, to €176.5 million, after reserving €3.4 billion against troubled loans. On Thursday, Banco Santander, Spain’s biggest commercial bank, had also reported a sharp drop in profit as a result of similar measures.
Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank on Thursday raised hopes for bond market intervention after saying the E.C.B. would do “whatever it takes” to preserve the euro union. But German opposition to a looser-money policy has long made the E.C.B. hesitant to take bold steps. And word from the German central bank, the Bundesbank, on Friday indicated that attitude had not changed.
“There haven’t been any changes in our position on bond purchases,” said a Bundesbank spokesman, who in line with the bank’s policy asked not to be named. The German central bank stands by its position that bond purchases by the E.C.B. are an unacceptable blurring of the line between government fiscal policy and monetary policy, the spokesman said.
Jens Weidmann, the president of the Bundesbank, has only one vote on the E.C.B.’s 23-member governing council, which meets Thursday. But dissent by the Bundesbank could undercut the effectiveness of attempts to influence the bond market. If the E.C.B. appears divided, investors might question its resolve.
In late-afternoon trading in Europe, the Euro Stoxx 50, a measure of euro zone blue chips, was up 0.73 percent, and the FTSE 100 index in London was up 0.14 percent.
Asian markets ended higher. The Nikkei 225-stock index in Tokyo was up 1.46 percent, and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 2.02 percent.
Spanish and Italian bond yields were lower, stemming a week of rises, as investors registered less nervousness about the potential need for bailouts. The yield, or interest rate, on the 10-year Spanish sovereign bond was at 6.614 percent, down 0.213 percentage point. The Italian 10-year yield was at 5.881 percent, down 0.128 percentage point.
The euro was at $1.2281, up marginally from $1.2280 late Thursday in New York.