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European Stocks Close Lower As Evergrande's Woes, Weak Data Weigh

European stocks closed on a weak note on Friday, snapping a three-day winning run, as uncertainty about Chinese real estate major Evergrande's ability to pay interest on dollar-denominated bonds, and a batch of weak economic data from the region rendered the mood cautious.

Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has stated that Europe had limited direct exposure to Evergrande.

Investors continued to react to the policy statements from the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, which had announced their policies on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

The Federal Reserve said while releasing its monetary policy on Wednesday that it would likely start tapering its bond-buying program before the end of this year.

The Fed also hinted at hiking interest rate in 2022, and signaled a series of hikes over the next two years as well.

On Thursday, the Bank of England left its key policy rates and QE unchanged, but opined that the recent price developments appeared to have strengthened the case for a modest tightening of monetary policy.

Investors also looked ahead to the polls in Germany this weekend to elect the nation's Chancellor. Worries about the surge in coronavirus cases in several countries hurt. Also, investors looked to take some profits after recent gains.

The pan European Stoxx 600 declined 0.9%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 ended 0.38% down, Germany's DAX shed 0.72% and France's CAC 40 slid 0.95%, while Switzerland's SMI tumbled 1.02%. The FTSE 100 shed about 1.3% in the week, while the DAX and CAC 40 gained 1.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden and Turkey closed with sharp to moderate losses.

Iceland drifted lower, while Czech Republic and Spain closed flat.

In the UK market, Intertek Group, RightMove, Rentokil, Halma, Segro, Croda International, JD Sports Fashion, Entain, Bunzl, Severn Trent, 3I Group and British Land Co ended lower by 2 to 3.6%.

Shares of food delivery firm Deliveroo declined sharply after the company lost a deal with Shell's gas station convenience stores to rival Uber Eats.

Rolls-Royce Holdings declined 4.4%. AstraZeneca, IAG, Intercontinental Hotels, Whitbread and Compass Group gained 1 to 2%.

In France, Kering, Essilor, Legrand, LOreal, Hermes International, Veolia and Dassault Systemes lost 2 to 3%. LVMH, Capgemini, Schneider Electric, Unibail Rodamco and Airbus also closed notably lower.

Sodexo climbed more than 3.5%. Air France-KLM, Accor, Renault and Valeo surged up 2 to 3%. Societe Generale and Carrefour also posted strong gains.

In the German market, Sartorius tumbled nearly 6%. HelloFresh shed more than 4%, while Zalando, Puma, Symrise and Adidas lost 2.4 to 3%. Merck and Siemens also ended sharply lower.

Daimler, Deutsche Bank, Covestro and HeidelbergCement ended on a weak note.

In economic releases, survey results from the market research group Gfk showed UK consumer confidence weakened to a five-month low in September as consumers were concerned about personal financial situation as well as wider economic prospects.

The consumer confidence index fell to -13 from -8 in August, the report said. This was the lowest reading since April 2021, when the score was -15.

UK retail sales grew at the slowest pace in six months in September, the latest Distributive Trades Survey data from the Confederation of British Industry showed.

Survey results from the ifo Institute showed German business confidence weakened for the third straight month in September.

The business climate index dropped to 98.8 in September from 99.6 in August. The score was forecast to fall to 98.9.

Companies were less satisfied with their current business. They were also more skeptical about the coming months, the survey showed.

The current situation index declined unexpectedly to 100.4 from 101.4 in the previous month. The expected level was 101.8. At the same time, the expectations index fell less-than-expected to 97.3 from 97.8 in August. The reading was seen at 96.5.

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