European Shares Slide As Investors Await US Inflation Data

European stocks were subdued on Friday, with concerns around rising Covid-19 infections and caution ahead of U.S. inflation data due later in the day weighing on markets.

It is believed that a higher-than-expected CPI reading would strengthen the case for a policy tightening decision at the U.S. central bank’s meeting next week.

The pan European Stoxx 600 dropped half a percent to 474.55 after ending flat with a negative bias on Thursday.

The German DAX dipped 0.4 percent, France’s CAC 40 index gave up half a percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down 0.1 percent.

Italian bank UniCredit rose nearly 2 percent after saying that it will start a share buyback program next week.

United Internet shares fell 2.3 percent. The German company said it expects EBITDA for 2022 to be on a par with 2021 and reach about 1.25 billion euros in 2022.

Chemical giant Bayer rallied 2 percent after a California jury found that Bayer’s Roundup weedkiller was not the cause of a woman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Saint-Gobain fell 1.1 percent in Paris. The building materials firm said it has sold its regional glass transformation business Glassolutions in Denmark to the German glass manufacturer Semcoglas Holding GmbH for an undisclosed amount.

Casino Group shares rose about 1 percent. The retailer has completed the definitive disposal of 3 percent of Mercialys equity through a total return swap of maturity March 2022.

Miner Anglo American rose half a percent after it forecast a stronger performance in 2022.

Associated British Foods was slightly higher. The conglomerate said its performance since the fiscal 2021 year ended on Sept 18 across grocery, sugar, ingredients and agriculture has been in line with views.

Food delivery firm Deliveroo dropped 1.4 percent and Just Eat Takeaway shed 0.8 percent on worries that a European Commission ruling on gig economy drivers would hurt profits.

Tobacco group Swedish Match soared 7 percent. The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Senate Democrats are dropping a proposal that would have imposed taxes on vaping.

In economic releases, German consumer price inflation crossed 5 percent in November, largely driven by a low base effect and higher energy and food prices, latest figures from the statistical office Destatis confirmed.

The consumer price index rose 5.2 percent year-on-year following a 4.5 percent increase in October.

The U.K. economy expanded at a weaker pace in October. Gross domestic product grew only 0.1 percent from September, when the economy expanded 0.6 percent, official data showed. This was also much slower than the 0.4 percent expansion expected by economists.

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