European stocks close lower amid virus concerns and weak economic data

(RTTNews) – European stocks closed lower on Friday as concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and disappointing US employment data hurt sentiment and prompted investors to remain cautious.

The World Health Organization said today that the new strain, which was first spotted in South Africa, has now been detected in 38 countries.

The possibility of an anticipated reduction by the Federal Reserve also contributed to negative sentiment in the markets.

Most of the region’s major markets started off on a positive note and, despite downsizing gains thereafter, managed to climb back above the flat line before turning easy again due to lack of support at higher levels. students.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished down 0.57%. The UK FTSE 100 lost 0.1%, the German DAX fell 0.61% and the French CAC 40 lost 0.44%. Switzerland’s SMI ended almost unchanged.

Among other markets in Europe, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden finished weak.

Austria, Greece and Turkey closed higher, while the Czech Republic and Iceland finished flat.

Ocado Group and Rio Tinto both finished down more than 3%. Anglo American Plc fell almost 3%. Scottish Mortgage, BHP Group, Antofagasta, Darktrace, Segro, Melrose Industries and Fresnillo lost 1 to 2.8%.

Kingfisher, Pearson, Berkeley Group Holdings, DCC, ABRDN, B&M European Value Retail, National Grid, British American Tobacco, M&G, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Barratt Developments gained 1 to 2.5%.

On the French market, Safran lost more than 3%. Atos, Unibail Rodamco, Vinci, Capgemini, Kering, WorldLine, Valeo, Dassault Systèmes and Renault lost 1 to 2%.

Technip gained around 2.3%. Veolia, Faurecia, Thales and Engie gain 1 to 1.5%.

In Germany, Continental fell 3.7%. MTU Aero Engines, Adidas, Airbus, Deutsche Bank, HelloFresh, Bayer, PUMA, BASF, BMW and Fresenius lost 1-3%. RWE and Deutsche Wohnen posted strong gains.

In economic publications, euro area private sector growth re-accelerated in November, mainly reflecting the resilience of the services sector as severe supply-side constraints weighed on manufacturing activity, according to the final results of the IHS Markit survey.

The IHS Markit Flash Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 55.4 in November from 54.2 in October. But that was below a previous “flash” estimate of 55.8.

Eurozone retail sales rose in October after falling the month before, according to Eurostat data. Data shows that retail sales rose 0.2% month-on-month in October, as expected, reversing a 0.4% drop in September.

On an annual basis, retail sales growth slowed to 1.4% in October from 2.6% the previous month. Sales are expected to increase by 1.2%.

The IHS Markit / CIPS UK Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 58.5 in November from 59.1 in October. The flash reading was 58.6.

French industrial production rebounded in October, largely driven by a strong recovery in the manufacture of transport equipment, according to preliminary data from the statistical institute INSEE.

Industrial production rose 0.9% from September, after falling 1.5%. Economists were forecasting gains of 0.5%.

Data from the US Department of Labor showed non-farm payroll employment increased by 210,000 jobs in November after increasing by 546,000 revised upward jobs in October. Economists expected employment to increase by 550,000 jobs from the jump of 531,000 jobs initially reported for the previous month.

Despite much weaker than expected job growth, the unemployment rate slipped to 4.2% in November from 4.6% in October. Economists expected the unemployment rate to drop to 4.5%.

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