European stocks wobble in holiday trade

GMT 15:45 2015 Thursday ,14 May

Arab Today, arab today European stocks wobble in holiday trade

European stocks
London - AFP

Europe's stock markets diverged Thursday in light holiday trade, with sentiment dampened by uninspiring US data and ongoing concerns over Greece, dealers said.

Trading was subdued in Europe owing to a public holiday in Germany and France, but the markets remained open.

"Many market participants in Europe enjoy the bank holiday break while those that remain are seeing fewer market catalysts," said analyst Craig Erlam at trading firm Oanda.

"There has been no notable economic data... and no reported developments in Greece" causing dealers to cash in recent profits.

In midday deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading companies nudged 0.09 percent lower to 6,943.10 points.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index added just 0.03 percent to 4,963.50 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.12 percent to 11,365 compared with Wednesday's close.

The euro meanwhile rallied to a three-month peak at $1.1435, up from $1.1354 late in New York on Wednesday, extending gains on bright eurozone economic growth data. The greenback was also dogged by disappointing US economic numbers.

"European markets continue to be under pressure," said Andy McLevey, head of dealing at online broker Interactive Investor.

"Investors are treading with caution following poor US retail sales figures yesterday as risk appetite and enthusiasm is further dampened by ongoing concerns over Greece."

European equities traded mixed on Wednesday, despite news of solid first quarter economic growth in the eurozone -- with France outpacing powerhouse Germany -- and encouraging company results.

Wall Street had finished little changed in choppy trade overnight after a lacklustre US retail sales report and disappointing earnings from Macy's.

And on Thursday, Asian equities mostly retreated following the set of below-forecast US data.

Tokyo's Nikkei index was the biggest loser of Asia's major markets Thursday as the yen climbed against the dollar.

Tokyo sank 0.98 percent and Sydney eased 0.33 percent,  while Seoul added 0.29 percent, Hong Kong climbed 0.14 percent and Shanghai was slightly higher.

US traders were left disappointed Wednesday after the Commerce Department said retail sales, a key part of consumer spending that drives most of the US economy, stagnated in April after rising 1.1 percent in March.

The average consensus estimate had been for a 0.2 percent increase.

Year-on-year, retail sales rose 0.9 percent, the weakest growth since 2009.

The news adds to unease about the world's biggest economy, which grew slower than expected in the first quarter, and makes a Federal Reserve interest rate rise unlikely in the early summer, reversing expectations from the start of the year.

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