European stocks slip on eurozone data

By AFP

July 15, 2010 Updated Jun 14, 2009 at 9:41 PM CDT

Europe's main equity markets fell on Friday, despite gains elsewhere amid mounting global recovery hopes, as investors absorbed the latest downbeat data in the recession-blighted eurozone.

Markets also took a knock after world oil prices breached 73 dollars a barrel overnight for the first time since last October. Higher crude prices ramp up the cost of energy and eat into companies' profits.

In late morning trading on Friday, London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares slid 0.09 percent to 4,457.96 points.

In Frankfurt the DAX 30 declined 0.41 percent to 5,086.44 points nearing the half-way mark, while the Paris CAC 40 firmed 0.02 percent to 3,335.55.

The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone shares fell 0.37 percent to 2,513.03 points.

On the currency market the euro dipped to 1.4050 dollars.

Factories and refiners in the 16 countries using the euro cut their output at the fastest rate on record in April in the face of depressed demand, according to official EU figures on Friday.

"Things look much worse than what business confidence indicators seem to suggest, and the ongoing contraction might continue in the near term, even if there are signs that demand has increased a touch," warned Newedge analysts.

The Eurostat data agency said eurozone industrial production fell 1.9 percent in April over one month, bringing the drop over 12 months to a record 21.6 percent, the sharpest annual contraction on record.

Across the Atlantic, US asset manager BlackRock announced on Thursday that it will buy Barclays Global Investors, the investment arm of British bank Barclays, for 13.5 billion dollars (9.6 billion euros).

The purchase, which is still subject to approval by Barclays shareholders, would double BlackRock's size and create a firm managing assets worth some 2.7 trillion dollars, employing over 9,000 people in 24 countries, according to the New York-based investment group.

In the deal, including BGI's market-leading iShares trading platform, BlackRock would acquire BGI for 6.6 billion dollars cash and 37.8 million dollars in shares.

But in morning trading, Barclays shares fell 1.64 percent to 299.50 pence, having already posted big gains earlier this week on speculation about the widely-anticipated deal.

In Asia on Friday, Tokyo shares closed above the 10,000-point level for the first time in eight months, buoyed by hopes of a recovery following recent upbeat data from the United States and China.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei-225 index rose 1.55 percent to 10,135.82 points, its highest level since October 7.

Wall Street ended with modest gains on Thursday as data showing a rise in US retail sales and lower unemployment claims helped soothe fears of rising oil prices and interest rates.

New York also saw an easing of bond market tensions after strong demand in a Treasury auction, helping the Dow Jones Industrial Average gain 0.37 percent to close at 8,770.92 points.

Bond yields fell after an auction for 30-year bonds, helping ease concerns about the rising tide of US debt.

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