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European Shares Fall Ahead Of China's Top Policy Meeting

stockmarkets aug16 21may20 lt

European stocks were subdued on Thursday as investors digested weak exports data from Asia and looked ahead to a report on U.S. weekly jobless claims as well as a key policy gathering in China for directional cues.

Meanwhile, the euro area private sector remained stuck in its deepest downturn ever in May due to the containment measures taken amid coronavirus pandemic, survey results from IHS Markit showed today.

The composite output index rose to 30.5 in May from a record low 13.6 in April.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index advanced to 28.7 from 12.0 in the previous month, while the factory PMI climbed to 39.5 from 33.4 in April.

Elsewhere, U.K. private sector output remained on a steep downward trajectory in May due to business shutdowns amid the coronavirus, pandemic, according to the flash survey results published by IHS Markit.

The flash IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply composite output index rose to 28.9 in May from 13.8 in April.

Nonetheless, the latest reading signaled a far steeper pace of contraction than at the worst point of the global financial crisis.

The pan European Stoxx 600 dropped half a percent to 341.12 after gaining 1 percent in the previous session.

The German DAX lost about 1 percent, France's CAC 40 index shed 0.6 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down 0.9 percent.

Italy's biggest insurer Generali fell 2.3 percent after saying it expects a lower operating profit in 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Amsterdam-based telecoms and cable group Altice Europe NV slumped 15 percent after its first-quarter core profit missed estimates.

British banks Barclays and HSBC Holdings fell over 2 percent after Bank of England chair Andrew Baily reportedly said the U.K. central bank has not precluded the possibility of negative interest rates.

EasyJet shares jumped 7 percent. The low-cost airline said it would resume flights on June 15 with a small schedule focused on U.K. and French domestic flights.

Whitbread slumped 11.6 percent after the Premier Inn owner announced it would raise almost £1bn through a rights issue.

Lufthansa shares soared 5.4 percent. The German airline said it was in advanced talks with the German government for nearly 9 billion euros of state aid.

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