European stocks slip on weak China trade figures

European stock markets slipped lower in thin trading on Friday as poor Chinese trade data raised concern about slowing economic growth in the Asian powerhouse nation.

London's FTSE 100 index of top companies dipped by a slender 0.08 percent to close at 5,847.11 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 edged down 0.29 percent to 6,944.56 and the Paris CAC 40 fell 0.61 percent at 3,435.62 points.

In Madrid, the Ibex 35 index lost 0.88 percent to 7,047.7 points, while in Milan the FTSE Mib was down by 0.72 percent at 14,549 points.

In foreign exchange deals, the European single currency slipped to $1.2294 from $1.2301 in New York late Thursday.

Analyst Craig Erlam at the Alpari brokerage highlighted a lack of market-moving news this week after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi had hinted at a resumption of the bank's controversial bond-buying programme.

"The markets haven't reacted well to this, with the rally fading in the first half of the week," Erlam noted.

"Over the last 24 hours, we've actually seen a move away from stocks and the euro, with investors not happy with the lack of urgency taken by the eurozone."

Investor sentiment was partly boosted Thursday as Chinese inflation data lifted hopes that Beijing would loosen monetary policy further, while US trade figures turned out to be better than expected.

But markets mostly fell on Friday as weak Chinese trade data reinforced concerns of a slowdown in the world's number two economy, while profit-taking added to selling pressure.

At CMC Markets, Michael Hewson said: "If investors are hoping that the engine of the Chinese growth will help keep the global economy ticking over they could well be in for a disappointment."

In the United States, stocks edged lower, with all eyes on the initial public offer (IPO) of the British football club Manchester United.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.10 percent at 13,151.64 points

The broader S&P 500-stock index edged down by 0.14 percent to 1,400.84, while the tech-rich Nasdaq fell 0.19 percent to 3,013.01.

The downturn was an ominous omen for the debut of Britain's most successful football team on the New York Stock Exchange, with the stock opening barely higher than its $14 cut-price initial public offering.

On public debt markets, the yield on 10-year Spanish bonds rose to 6.907 percent from 6.846 percent at the close of trade on Thursday, while Italian yields rose to 5.903 percent from 5.859 percent.

Once again, a lack of financial information was cited as a factor behind a lack of market activity.

In China meanwhile, exports grew just one percent in July year-on-year to $176.9 billion, while imports rose 4.7 percent to $151.8 billion, cutting the trade surplus to $25.1 billion from $31.7 billion in June.

Chinese retail sales, industrial output and inflation all weakened in July, indicating the export-driven economy was feeling the effects of Europe's debt crisis lowering demand in a key market.

The figures will also add to calls for China's leaders to further loosen monetary policy to kick start growth, which in the April-June quarter grew at its slowest pace since the height of the global crisis in 2008-2009.

"Worse-than-expected trade data, slowing industrial output growth and lower loans figures have put the focus firmly back on China today -- with pressure increasing on their policy makers to introduce further stimulus measures," said Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at online brokerage Interactive Investor.

In Asian trade, Hong Kong shares fell 0.66 percent and Shanghai shed 0.24 percent. Tokyo lost 0.97 percent and Sydney dipped 0.72 percent.

In London, Barclays Bank ended the day at the top of the FTSE gainers board, adding 2.60 percent to 183.6 pence, after the bank said it had nominated David Walker to replace Marcus Agius as president.

Agius had resigned in connection with the ongoing Libor rate scandal.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9363+0.0005+0.05%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5598+0.0002+0.03%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6776-0.0001-0.01%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg