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European Shares Seen Subdued

4/13/2012 2:10 AM ET

European shares are seen opening subdued on Friday, snapping a two-day rebound, as disappointing Chinese GDP data intensified concerns about a hard economic landing in the world's second-largest economy.

Commodities are retreating and the Dow futures are down 31 points as investors reacted to Chinese data,which showed the nation's economy grew at its slowest pace in almost three years in the first quarter. The Japanese yen weakened for a second day against the euro after Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa warned of major risks to global growth.

China's gross domestic product expanded 8.1 percent year-over-year in the first three months of 2012, faster than the fourth quarter's 8.9 percent increase, but slightly lower than the 8.4 percent gain that economists were looking for, data from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed today.

However, Asian markets are trading mostly higher, with markets in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea leading the gainers, as Google's forecast-beating first-quarter financial results and news that North Korea's rocket launch has failed outweighed concerns about China's slowing economy.

Producer prices from the U.K. and final inflation from Germany are the major statistical reports due in the European session.

In corporate news, French cosmetics giant L'Oreal SA said its first-quarter sales grew 9.4 percent, mainly on strong demand for its products in emerging markets, especially Asia Pacific, combined with "remarkable" sales growth for luxury products.

Dutch telecommunication firm Royal KPN NV said it received shareholder nod to distribute a dividend for 2011 of EUR 0.85 per ordinary share.

European shares ended higher on Thursday, following the previous session's rebound, as investors digested the Federal Reserve's April Book survey, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure's comments on potential bond buying, mixed corporate news and a downbeat Italian bond auction.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks rose half a percent and the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, gained 0.8 percent, while around Europe, France's CAC 40, the German DAX, Switzerland's SMI and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose between 1 percent and 1.3 percent.

U.S. stocks rose sharply on Thursday, extending the previous session's rebound, as renewed optimism about the possibility of further quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve and a report from the Commerce Department showing a narrower than expected U.S. trade deficit outweighed disappointing jobless claims data. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose around 1.4 percent each, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 1.3 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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