European Shares Slide As Investors Await US Jobs Data

European stocks were flat to slightly lower in cautious trade on Friday, as investors awaited U.S. non-farm payrolls data for May due later in the day for further clues on economic recovery and the upside risks to inflation.

Amid increasing bets over possible tapering of stimulus, market participants also looked ahead to the Fed and the European Central Bank policy meetings next week for directional cues.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was little changed with a negative bias at 450.70, but was on track to post half a percent gain for the week on hopes for economic recovery.

The German DAX was marginally lower, France’s CAC 40 index slipped 0.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down 0.3 percent.

British Airways-owner IAG declined 1.5 percent, Wizz Air Holdings tumbled 3.4 percent and easyJet gave up 1.8 percent as Britain added seven more countries to its “red list” of destinations that require hotel quarantine on return to England.

Ryanair shed 1.4 percent. The chief executive of the airline expects there to be unrestricted movement between Europe and Britain from July onwards.

Vivendi shares were down half a percent. Hedge-fund billionaire William Ackman’s special-purpose acquisition company, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings Ltd. (PSTH), confirmed that it is in discussions with the French media giant to acquire 10 percent of the outstanding ordinary shares of Universal Music Group B.V. or “UMG” for about $4 billion, representing an enterprise value of 35 billion euros for UMG.

Lanxess AG shares were little changed. The U.K’s Competition and Markets Authority said that it is investigating the proposed acquisition of Emerald Kalama Chemical LLC by the German specialty chemicals company.

In economic news, Eurostat data showed that Eurozone retail sales dropped 3.1 percent in April on a sequential basis, compared with the 1.0 percent decline expected by economists.

Germany’s construction Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 44.5 in May from 46.2 in the previous month, survey results from IHS Markit showed.

This was the lowest reading since February, when the sector was impacted by a bout of severe wintry weather.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply construction Purchasing Managers’ Index for U.K. rose to 64.2 in May from 61.6 in April.

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