LONDON: European stock markets were mixed on Thursday (Apr 18) as investors wound down their positions before the Easter break, with positivity surrounding China-US trade talks and strong US retail sales data failing to spur much buying action.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked higher in midday trading after it was reported that US retail sales rose 1.6 per cent in March, handily beating expectations.
There was also a batch of mostly positive earnings reports, however the broad-based S&P 500 and tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index edged downwards.
Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare said the market was “jogging in place” before the long weekend.
“It’s hard to tell if the market is just tired after a massive rally, checked out in front of an extended holiday weekend, or genuinely bothered by concerns regarding the economic outlook,” O’Hare said.
The euro meanwhile slid versus the dollar as data showed business growth in the eurozone had hit the lowest level since 2014 on German sluggishness and stagnation in France.
The single currency’s drop helped support eurozone exporters, pushing up overall stock market values in the region.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index closed up 0.5 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 won 0.4 per cent on the day.
Outside the eurozone, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index lost 0.2 per cent, despite stronger-than-expected British retail sales figures.
Beset by looming political risks such as Brexit and weaker global growth, the eurozone is struggling to keep the economy growing at a healthy pace, a survey from data firm IHS Markit showed.
“Traders are mindful of the Easter break and we might see some trimming their positions ahead of the long weekend,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
US-CHINA TRADE TALKS
A wide range of US companies reported first