Europe Shares to Open Lower, China Growth Below Forecasts

European stocks are seen opening lower Friday as weaker than expected China economic data hit investor confidence.

Close-up of a pen on stock price chart
Close-up of a pen on stock price chart

Markets are looking to end the volatile week on a calmer note as the focus shifts to bank earnings out of the U.S. Financials JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are both likely to be closely watched as they report numbers before the bell.

Data showed the Chinese economy grew at a more muted rate in the first quarter of this year.

Growth came in at 8.1 percent, down from 8.9 percent in the previous three months and lower than forecast.

Stocks in Asia pared some of their gains following the news and the euro and the Australian dollar fell.

In other news, reports suggest that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is in talks to secure loans to enable it to mount a bid for the London Metal Exchange.

Spain has more work to do but must avoid strangling growth as it implements harsh austerity measures, the IMF’s head Christine Lagarde said Thursday.

Recent weeks have seen the focus shift to Spain as the country faced a rise in borrowing costs once again due to concerns over its budget deficit targets.

The country’s parliament passed a law Thursday which will allow the central government to intervene if autonomous regions in Spain do not adhere to strict deficit reduction rules.

The government hopes that the law will appease international markets and the rest of the euro zone that it can keep its house in order.