European markets open flat after sliding in previous session

  • British retail sales dropped in July by 2.5% from the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics.
  • It comes as futures on the S&P 500 point to a flat open in the U.S. also.

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LONDON — European stocks traded mostly flat on Friday morning as concerns over monetary policy, the delta Covid variant and China's tech crackdown linger.

The Stoxx 600 traded 6 basis points higher with most sectors trading slightly above the flatline. Retail and basic resources led the sectorial gains, having been two of the worst performers during Thursday's trading session.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed lower by 1.7% Thursday due in large part to signals from the Federal Reserve that it could reduce stimulus as early as this year.

In the U.S., S&P 500 futures point to a lower open after a volatile trading session Thursday. The S&P 500 managed to snap a two-day losing streak, finishing regular trading in the green.

Meanwhile, stocks in Asia Friday were mostly lower after China left its benchmark lending rate unchanged. In addition, the tougher scrutiny over technology continues in China with a new data protection law approved on Friday.

Corporate news

Looking at individual stocks, Marks & Spencer topped gains in early deals, up by almost 8%, after the retailer lifted its profit outlook.

Fellow supermarket Morrisons was also among the top performers, up by 4.5%, after announcing it had approved a takeover offer of £7 billion ($9.5 billion) from U.S.-based private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

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U.K. retails sales disappoint

Back in Europe, Germany's finance minister said Friday the economy is on track for a lasting and strong recovery in the third quarter. There will be new growth figures for Germany out next week.

In other data news, British retail sales dropped in July by 2.5% from the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics. Economists argue that rainy weather and the global chip shortage had an impact on how British consumers behaved last month.

Sterling traded lower against the U.S. dollar at $1.36 following the data release.

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