European Stocks Close On Mixed Note As Investors React To Economic Data

(RTTNews) - European stocks closed on a mixed note on Thursday as investors digested a slew of economic data including U.S. personal consumption expenditure report, inflation reports from Germany, France and Spain, in addition to reacting to corporate earnings updates.

Data from the Commerce Department showed consumer price growth in the U.S. slowed to 2.4% in January from 2.6% in December. The annual rate of core consumer price growth also slowed to 2.8% in January from 2.9% in December, in line with estimates.

The slowdown in consumer price growth is likely to generate optimism about the outlook for interest rates, as Fed officials have said they need greater confidence is slowing before they consider cutting rates.

The pan European Stoxx 600 ended little changed. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged up 0.07%, Germany's DAX gained 0.44%, and France's CAC 40 ended down 0.34%. Switzerland's SMI ended higher by 0.21%.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Portugal and Spain ended weak.

Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden and Turkiye closed higher. Iceland ended flat.

In the UK market, Howden Joinery and Haleo gained about 7.5% and 6.7%, respectively. Ocado Group, Rentokil Initial, Croda International, Taylor Wimpey, Standard Chartered, The Sage Group, Admiral, Ashtead, ICP, Schrodders, Fresnillo and Melrose Industries climbed 2 to 4%.

Whitbread dropped about 5%. Weir Holdings, Barclays Group, IHG, Diageo, Marks & Spencer, AstraZeneca and Reckitt Benckiser lost 1 to 2.2%.

In the German market, Siemens Energy, Alliaz, Munich RE, Sartorius, Covestro, Siemens, Siemens Healthineers, Porsche, Hannover Rueck, MTU Aero Engines and HeidelbergCement gained 1 to 2.3%.

Beiersdorf ended down 3.6%. Adidas, Fresenius Medical Care, Bayer and Commerzbank lost 1 to 1.5%.

In Paris, Eurofins Scientific, Legrand, Schenider Electric, Edenred, Capgemini, AXA and STMicroElectronics posted sharp to moderate gains.

Veolia ended down 3.6%. WorldLine drifted down 2.5%. L'Oreal, Pernod Ricard, Sanofi, Carrefour and Stellantis lost 1 to 1.1%.

On the economic front, France's payroll employment was flat sequentially in the fourth quarter, following an increase of 0.2% in the previous quarter, final data from the statistical office INSEE showed.

France consumer price inflation eased to the lowest in more than two years in February, softening to 2.9% from 3.1% in the prior month, provisional data from the statistical office INSEE showed. Economists had forecast consumer prices to climb 2.7%.

Germany's consumer price inflation eased further in February to its lowest level in over two-and-a-half years. The consumer price index, or CPI, rose 2.5% year-on-year following a 2.9% increase in January, preliminary estimates from the statistical office Destatis showed.

Germany's retail sales unexpectedly declined in January, falling by 0.4%, data published by Destatis showed. On a yearly basis, retail sales were down 1.4%, data showed. Sales were forecast to decline 1.5%.

The unemployment rate in Germany remained unchanged at 5.9% in February, data from the Federal Labor Agency showed Thursday. The rate was seen at 5.8%.

Spain's consumer price inflation eased as expected in February to the lowest level in six months, moderating to 2.8% fro 3.4% in the previous month, INE revealed on Thursday.

Switzerland's economy logged a moderate growth in the fourth quarter of 2023, data published by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, showed. Gross domestic product grew 0.3% sequentially, the same rate as seen in the third quarter.

Car production in the United Kingdom grew sharply at the start of the year amid strong demand and abating supply chain disruptions, climbing up 31% year-over-year, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, or SMMT, showed.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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