European stocks close sharply lower on growth concerns

(RTTNews) – European stocks closed noticeably lower on Monday as worries about slowing growth, soaring inflation and geopolitical tensions amid the ongoing war in Ukraine weighed on sentiment.

The mood was cautious, with investors anticipating monetary policy meetings by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, which will take place this week.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 1.46%. The German DAX ended down 1.13% and the French CAC 40 lost 1.66%, while the Swiss SMI fell 1.29%. The UK market remained closed for a public holiday.

Among other European markets, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden finished in decline, losing between 1 and 2.5%.

On the French market, ArcelorMittal, Safran, Schneider Electric, Hermes International and Veolia ended down 3 to 4%.

Valeo, Accor, Dassault Systèmes, Teleperformance, STMicroElectronics, Société Générale, L’Oréal, Cap Gemini, Publicis Groupe, Faurecia, Bouygues and Kering lost 2 to 3%.

Atos rebounded around 2.3% and Carrefour gained almost 1%.

In Germany, Continental, Daimler, BASF and Vonovia lost 5-6%. Bayer fell more than 4%, while Infineon Technologies, Porsche Automobil and MTU Aero Engines lost 3 to 3.3%, while Zalando, Merck, RWE and Siemens ended down 2 to 2.7%.

Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Post, Sartorius, Henkel and Siemens Healthineers also ended sharply lower, while Hello Fresh climbed nearly 2.5%.

On the economic front, eurozone manufacturing activity grew at the slowest pace in more than a year in April amid sustained supply-side pressures and demand and production disruptions. due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, according to survey data from S&P Global.

The final manufacturing PMI fell to a 15-month low of 55.5 in April, from 56.5 the previous month. However, that was above the flash reading of 55.3.

Economic confidence in the euro zone unexpectedly weakened in April, due to deteriorating confidence in industry, retail, construction and among consumers, according to the results of a survey by the European Commission.

The economic confidence index fell to 105.0 in April from 106.7 in March, while it was expected to improve to 108.0.

Among the four major economies, the economic climate deteriorated in Spain and France. At the same time, confidence remained broadly unchanged in Germany, while it improved in Italy.

The industrial sentiment index came in at 7.9 in April, down from 9.0 the previous month. Economists had expected the index to rise to 9.5.

The consumer confidence index fell to -22.0 from -21.6 a month ago. The flash score was -16.9. This decline reflects a marked decline in households’ assessment of their own past financial situation and their intentions to make major purchases.

Retail sales in Germany unexpectedly fell in March, according to data from Destatis. Retail trade turnover fell by 0.1% in real terms on a monthly basis in March, offsetting a rise of 0.1% the previous month and contrary to the expected growth of 0.3%.

On an annual basis, retail sales fell 2.7%, thwarting expectations of a 6.1% increase.

Survey data from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, showed that Swiss consumer confidence deteriorated sharply in the first quarter as households became much more pessimistic about the future general economic situation.

The consumer sentiment index fell to -27.4 in the second quarter, from -3.8 in the first quarter. The index recorded its biggest drop since the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.

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