Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is due in Washington for fresh talks aimed at heading off a trade war with the United States
London (AFP) - Europe’s stock markets mostly rose Tuesday as investors absorbed unrevised first-quarter eurozone growth data, but Frankfurt stumbled on downbeat German news, dealers said.
London rose 0.2 percent in late morning deals, while Paris gained 0.1 percent and Frankfurt fell 0.1 percent in early afternoon trade.
Eurozone economic growth hit 0.4 percent in the January-March period from 0.7 percent in the previous quarter, the EU’s Eurostat statistics agency confirmed in its latest estimate, but analysts laid the blame on temporary factors.
“Equity markets in Europe are experiencing low volatility today, as the outlook for the region remains unchanged,” noted CMC Markets analyst David Madden.
However, the powerhouse German economy grew more slowly than previously thought, expanding by 0.3 percent – or half the pace of the prior three months.
Added to the gloom, a key survey showed that German investor confidence remained at its lowest level since November 2012 in May.
The ZEW economic institute reported a reading of -8.2 points in its monthly barometer for the second time in a row.
“We think that the slowdown in eurozone GDP growth largely reflected temporary effects,” said Capital Economics analyst Jack Allen.
He added: “For example, industrial output was hit by strikes and an outbreak of flu in Germany.
“What’s more, unseasonably-bad weather hindered construction activity and retail sales, which was only partly offset by an associated increase in energy output.
“Overall, we think that without those effects, the eurozone economy might have grown by about 0.6 percent in the first quarter.”
- Asia slides -
In Asia on Tuesday, stock markets mostly fell as trade issues returned to the spotlight with China and the US holding more high-level talks this week.
A run-up in equities over the past week has also led to profit-taking, with Hong Kong hit after six straight days of gains.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He – President Xi Jinping’s right-hand man on economic issues – headed to Washington on Tuesday for a new round of talks aimed at heading off a trade war between the economic giants.
There are hopes the two sides can hammer out an agreement to end a dispute that has seen both sides threaten tariffs on billions of dollars of goods.
Donald Trump’s call to help get Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE “back into business fast” soothed nerves, while Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday he was exploring “alternative remedies” for the firm, which was in April banned from buying crucial US technology for seven years.
Concerns about the crude-rich Middle East region have helped put upward pressure on oil prices, with deadly clashes in Gaza during the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem coming less than a week after Trump ripped up the Iran nuclear deal.
- Key figures around 1020 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,726.25
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.1 percent at 12,964.41
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.1 percent at 5,546
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,562.40
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 22,818.02 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.2 percent at 31,152.03 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 3,192.12 (close)
New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 24,899.41 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1923 from $1.1927 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3540 from $1.3556
Dollar/yen: UP at 109.92 yen from 109.66 yen
Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 68 cents at $78.91 per barrel
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 40 cents at $71.36