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European Markets Pull Back On Trade Concerns

The majority of the European markets ended Friday's session in negative territory. Investors were in a nervous mood as tensions flared between the U.S. and its allies ahead of the G7 meeting in Canada.

U.S. President Trump lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter ahead of the summit.

"Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers," Trump tweeted.

He added, "The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow."

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index weakened by 0.23 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks decreased 0.36 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, lost 0.13 percent.

The DAX of Germany dropped 0.35 percent, but the CAC of France rose 0.03 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. declined 0.30 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 0.42 percent.

In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank dropped 0.98 percent. The bank's Chairman Paul Achleitner has spoken with top shareholders about merging with Commerzbank as Germany's largest lender struggles with its turnaround plan, the Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Rival Commerzbank also lost 1.71 percent.

In Paris, Air France-KLM fell 2.29 percent after unveiling passenger traffic figures for May.

In London, Standard Life Aberdeen sank 3.60 percent after Lloyds Banking sold its remaining stake in the asset manager.

Marks & Spencer's rose 0.28 percent. The clothing and food retailer said it will not pay its directors' bonuses this year after a plunge in annual profits.

Whitbread finished up by 0.07 percent. Reuters has reported that the company is open to selling its Costa coffee chain or Premier Inn hotels and abandoning its original plan to spin off coffee chain.

BT Group advanced 0.99 percent on news that its Chief Executive Gavin Patterson will be stepping down later in the year.

Germany's exports dropped in April, while imports expanded after falling for three straight months, figures from Destatis showed Friday.

Exports fell by seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent month-on-month, in contrast to March's 1.8 percent increase. The 0.3 percent decline came in line with expectations.

Meanwhile, imports advanced 2.2 percent, reversing a 0.2 percent fall in March. Economists had forecast a 0.6 percent rise.

As a result, the trade surplus decreased to EUR 19.4 billion from EUR 21.6 billion in the previous month.

Germany's labor costs growth quickened in the three months ended March, after easing in the previous four quarters, figures from Destatis showed Friday. Labor costs per hour worked consisting of gross earnings and non-wage costs rose 2.3 percent year-over-year in the first quarter, faster than the 1.5 percent climb in the fourth quarter.

Germany's industrial production decreased unexpectedly in April, data from Destatis revealed Friday. Industrial output dropped 1 percent month-on-month in April, reversing a revised 1.7 percent rise in March. Output was forecast to grow 0.3 percent.

France's industrial production declined for the second straight month in April on weak mining activity, the statistical office Insee showed Friday. Industrial output dropped unexpectedly by 0.5 percent month-on-month in April, following March's 0.4 percent decrease. Output was forecast to grow 0.3 percent.

China's exports logged a double-digit growth in May despite ongoing trade dispute with the U.S., data from General Administration of Customs revealed Friday.

Exports climbed 12.6 percent year-over-year in May, faster than the expected growth of 11.1 percent.

At the same time, imports increased sharply by 26 percent, exceeding expectations for an annual 18.2 percent rise.

As a result, the trade surplus totaled $24.92 billion in May, which was well below the expected level of $33.8 billion. China's trade surplus with the United States increased to $24.6 billion.

Wholesale inventories edged higher in the month of April, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday, while wholesale sales saw a notable increase. The report said wholesale inventories inched up by 0.1 percent in April after rising by a revised 0.2 percent in March.

The uptick in inventories matches economist estimates and represents an upward revision from the preliminary reading showing inventories were unchanged.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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