FN: European stocks fall for second day as euro rises
European stocks posted mild losses Friday, with investors pushing up both the euro and the pound against the dollar following top-tier economic data for the eurozone and the UK, but remained on track to finish April trade with gains, MarketWatch reports.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.2% to 386.98, set for second straight day in negative territory. The benchmark on Thursday broke a six-session win streak after the European Central Bank offered no surprises at its policy meeting, while a drop for Deutsche Bank also weighed.
Most European stock markets are closed for trade on Monday for May Day and the UKâ€™s early May bank holiday. Only the Danish market is open for trade, according to index provider Stoxx.
Euro and pound advance: The euro was pushed to $1.0949 after the preliminary eurozone inflation report for April, with investors eyeing the prospect that stronger inflation may compel the European Central Bank to raise interest rates. The shared currency bought $1.0874 late Thursday in New York.
Core inflation excluding energy and food rose to 1.2% in April, according to Eurostat. Thatâ€™s the highest since March 2013, FactSet data showed, and surpassed the consensus estimate of 1%. Headline inflation rose to 1.9%, above the 1.8% estimate.
ECB President Mario Draghi in his press conference on Thursday said there was still no â€śconvincing upward trendâ€ť in underlying inflation in the eurozone, reiterating that itâ€™s too soon to scale back the bankâ€™s aggressive stimulus programme.
Also after the inflation data, the yield on the 10-year German bund climbed 5 basis points to 0.35% as prices fell. Rising inflation eats into the value of interest payments.
Meanwhile, the pound bought $1.2943, remaining above $1.29 even after British economic growth slowed more than expected in the first quarter. A preliminary reading of 0.3% growth was less than the FactSet estimate 0.4%, as services sector activity slowed considerably.
Shares of multinational companies can be hurt by strengthening in the euro and the pound as they would hurt prospect for higher sales and earnings made overseas.
The UKâ€™s FTSE 100 index was down 0.3% to 7,216.79.
French inflation data out earlier on Friday came in at 1.4%, in line with forecasts.
In other economic news, German retail sales rose 0.1% in March on the month, beating forecasts of a flat reading.
Franceâ€™s CAC 40 index rose 0.2% to 5,280.24. Germanyâ€™s DAX 30 index was up 0.1% at 12,450.85.
Weekly win: The pan-European benchmark was set for a 2.4% weekly gain following a strong rally at the start of week after centrist Emmanuel Macron came out on top in the first round of the French presidential election. Macron is expected to win the runoff round against far-right Marine Le Pen on May 7, easing fears of a so-called Frexit.
For April, the benchmark was on track for a 1.6% rise.
Movers: Shares of UBS jumped 3.1% after the Swiss banking giant reported earnings well ahead of forecasts due to strong income growth in its investment banking and wealth management units.
On a more downbeat note in the banking space, shares of Barclays slid 4.8% after the UK lender said its net profit fell by more than half in the first quarter of the year.
Electrolux shares jumped 4.9% after the Swedish household appliance maker posted better-than-expected earnings of 1.08 billion Swedish kronor ($122.3 million) for the first quarter on improving trend across all of its businesses while accelerating cost savings.
Outside of earnings reports, Franceâ€™s Thales said it is acquiring Guavus, and will pay as much as $215 million for the California-based big data analysis firm.