European equities slide before key US data

LONDON (AFP/APP): European equities fell on Thursday, after a mixed performance in Asia, with investors cautious before this week’s vital US economic data.
London’s stock market dropped by 0.9 percent in late morning deals.

Frankfurt and Paris lost 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent respectively shortly after midday in the eurozone, despite upbeat survey data.

“It all just feels a bit deflated right now,” IG analyst Chris Beauchamp told AFP.
“The week has been almost empty of news and so we have seen a bit of a momentum escape from markets.”

Paris also nudged lower one day after striking its highest closing level so far this year on a wave of optimism.

Elsewhere, Asian markets diverged Thursday as traders attempted to gauge when the Federal Reserve will begin reconsidering its ultra-loose monetary policies in light of a robust economic recovery.

Wall Street climbed Wednesday as investors balanced the potential for a strong economic recovery against worries over higher inflation.

Markets will focus later Thursday on US jobless claims data compiled by the ADP group, followed by key non-farm payrolls numbers on Friday.

The NFP figures provide a key snapshot of the world’s top economy, with expectations for a big jump as businesses restart and people return to some semblance of normality.

“I think stocks are still confident about a renewed boost to growth from reopening and are also now less concerned about inflation,” added Beauchamp.
“Hopefully ADP/jobless claims today and NFPs tomorrow might jolt everything into life for a while, otherwise it could be a long summer.”

Oil slips from highs
Oil prices meanwhile dipped in European trade, having surged in the Asian session on growing optimism that the reopenings and vaccine rollouts will lead to resurgent energy demand.

Crude remains well supported by a decision Tuesday by OPEC and other key producers to only gradually lift output in response to the global recovery, while expectations for a return of Iranian crude have dimmed.

Brent peaked at $71.99 and WTI hit $69.40 in Asia before paring gains, though they remain close to multi-year highs and observers predict they could go even higher.