European Shares Struggle For Direction In Lackluster Trade

European stocks struggled for direction on Friday, with nervousness over the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant coronavirus and uncertainty about government policy in China keeping underlying sentiment cautious.

Market participants also looked ahead to U.S. jobs data due later in the day for clues to the pace of economic recovery and the rate outlook.

Investors shrugged off data showing that Germany’s industrial production declined unexpectedly in June.

German industrial output dropped 1.3 percent in June from May, when production was down by revised 0.8 percent, Destatis reported. Economists had forecast production to grow 0.5 percent in June.

Year-on-year, industrial output grew 5.1 percent, but slower than the 16.6 percent increase seen in May.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was marginally lower at 469.75 after four straight sessions of gains that took it to record highs.

The German DAX edged up 0.2 percent, while France’s CAC 40 index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 were little changed in lackluster trade.

ING shares advanced 1.5 percent. The Dutch lender beat expectations for second-quarter profit after releasing money set aside for doubtful loans.

Italian lender Banco BPM jumped 4.6 percent after it swung to a profit in the second quarter.

London Stock Exchange Group jumped more than 4 percent after it reported a 4.6 percent rise in revenue for the first half of 2021.

Hikma Pharma slumped 4.3 percent despite the company reporting higher first-half revenue and profits.

BPO company Capita rose over 1 percent after delivering half-year results in line with expectations.

Insurer Allianz rallied nearly 3 percent after it posted better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and issued a rosier outlook for the full year.

Meal-kit delivery company HelloFresh tumbled 3.3 percent after lowering its 2021 profitability forecast.

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