European stocks drop before US jobs data

GMT 15:40 2015 Friday ,06 November

Arab Today, arab today European stocks drop before US jobs data

Mid-afternoon, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index
London - AFP

European stock markets fell on Friday ahead of key US data, while the British pound took a knock for a second day running.

Investors are closely watching Friday's jobs report after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen this week said that if US economic activity remained solid the central bank could decide to increase interest rates before the end of the year.

"The pace of jobs growth has slowed in recent months but Janet Yellen’s comments... suggest that she has seen the numbers and that they will not be an impediment to a December rate hike," said Neil MacKinnon, economist at VTB Capital financial group.

In late morning stock market trade, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.11 percent at 6,358.08 points.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index fell 0.27 percent compared with Thursday's close to 10,858.26 points and in Paris the CAC 40 shed 0.81 percent to 4,939.82.

Markets are waiting to see when the Fed and Bank of England will start to raise interest rates from record-low levels -- moves that will hike costs for borrowers but lead to higher returns for savers.

With the Fed ready to raise rates, the euro on Friday fell to a 3.5-month low point at $1.0834.

"We’ve seen a substantial decline in this (euro-dollar) pair as markets price in the increasingly diverging monetary policies of the Fed and ECB," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda trading group.

Rather than hiking eurozone rates, the European Central Bank is seen as preparing to launch fresh stimulus to prop up the single currency bloc's economy.

In Britain meanwhile, the pound, which already fell Thursday after the Bank of England hinted that it was not in a rush to begin raising rates, dropped further Friday following poor data.

"September's trade and industrial production figures provide further signs that the UK's economic recovery remained unbalanced in the third quarter," Capital Economics said in a research note.

In foreign exchange Friday, approaching midday in London, the euro was down at $1.0869 from $1.0881 late on Thursday in New York.

The pound dropped to $1.5141 from $1.5208, while 71.79 pence bought one euro, up from 71.55 pence Thursday.

On the corporate front, shares in miner BHP Billiton slumped 5.20 percent to 980.20 pence, topping the FTSE 100 losers' board in the wake of a Brazilian mine mudslide that killed at least 17 people.

The mining company Samarco, which operates the site, is jointly owned by mining giants Vale of Brazil and BHP Billiton.

A dam burst Thursday at a mining waste site in Brazil, unleashing a deluge of thick, red toxic mud that smothered a village.

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