Markets

European markets close lower as growth fears weigh on global sentiment; Anglo American sinks 8%

Key Points
  • U.K. retail sales fell unexpectedly in August, dropping 0.9% month-on-month against a Reuters average forecast for a 0.5% rise.
  • Investors in recent days have been reacting to softer U.S. inflation data which tempered expectations of imminent tapering of asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, and weak retail sales figures from China, which suggested a slowdown in the global economic recovery.

LONDON — European markets closed lower on Friday as global investors continued to weigh the prospect of slowing economic growth.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by nearly 1%, having earlier been up by as much as 0.7%. Travel and leisure stocks added 1.1% to lead gains while basic resources fell 4%. The Stoxx 600 also saw a weekly decline of 1%, down for the third straight week.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Friday after taking losses for much of the week as concerns about China's regulatory crackdown and slowing global growth weighed on risk sentiment. China Evergrande Group shares continued to plummet amid fears over its debt problems.

Stateside, stocks dipped on Friday as investors remained cautious due to a resurgent Covid virus, and a Federal Reserve meeting next week.

Investors in recent days have been reacting to softer U.S. inflation data which tempered expectations of imminent tapering of asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, and weak retail sales figures from China, which suggested a slowdown in the global economic recovery.

Data on Friday showed that U.K. retail sales fell unexpectedly in August, dropping 0.9% month-on-month against a Reuters average forecast for a 0.5% rise. The fourth consecutive monthly decline marks the longest negative streak since records began.

In corporate news, French automaker Renault announced Thursday that it will ax up to 2,000 engineering and support jobs in France amid a mass transition toward electric vehicles.

In terms of individual share price movement on Friday, Sweden's Dometic Group rose 1% after agreeing to a $677 million deal to buy U.S. drinkware manufacturer Igloo.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, British-listed mining giant Anglo American fell 8.2% after UBS and Morgan Stanley both downgraded the stock and cut their price targets.

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