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European Shares Seen Lower After Softer China Data

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European stocks are seen opening lower on Thursday after a slew of data from China came in below economists' estimates.

Industrial output grew an annual 6.0 percent in August, the National Bureau of Statistics said - missing forecasts for an increase of 6.6 percent and down from 6.4 percent in July.

Retail sales rose 10.1 percent - again missing expectations for 10.5 percent growth, while fixed asset investment advanced an annual 6.7 percent - shy of forecasts for 6.8 percent.

The Bank of England announces its rate decision later today, with analysts expecting the central bank to signal explicit concerns over the U.K. rate curve being too flat.

Also, investors will closely watch U.S. inflation data due out later in the day for clues on the possible timing of the Federal Reserve's next rate rise.

Meanwhile, a survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed earlier in the day that the U.K. house price balance rose unexpectedly in August to +6.0 from +1.0 in July, signaling a return to growth. The London price gauge remained stuck firmly in negative territory, posting the weakest reading since 2008.

Asian markets are trading mostly lower and the dollar rose against most of its rivals while oil held onto overnight gains after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said a global surplus of crude was starting to shrink.

Overnight, U.S. stocks eked out modest gains to set new closing highs as oil prices rose and retailer Target issued a strong hiring forecast, helping offset concerns over Apple's new iPhone X.

The Dow rose 0.2 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 inched up around 0.1 percent each.

European markets finished mixed on Wednesday amid a sharp decline in chipmakers and mining stocks. The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index closed little changed with a negative bias.

The German DAX and France's CAC 40 index both rose by 0.2 percent while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 slid 0.3 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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