European markets rise cautiously as investors await economic data; UK retail sales soar

  • Investors will be monitoring a slew of May's flash PMI (purchasing managers' index) readings out of the euro zone and the U.K. on Friday morning.
  • Earnings on Friday come from Nationwide Building Society and Richemont.
  • U.K. retail sales jumped 9.2% in April, double the average projection in a Reuters poll of economists, official data showed Friday, indicating that pent-up consumer demand is beginning to kick in.

European markets were slightly higher Friday after Wall Street snapped a three-day losing streak, with attention turning to key economic data from the euro zone and U.K.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged 0.2% above the flatline in early trade, with autos adding 0.6% while basic resources dropped 0.4%.

Stocks in Europe received a subdued handover from Asia-Pacific, where markets were mixed on Friday following an overnight bounce on Wall Street led by a rebound in the tech sector. U.S. stock futures are pointing to a flat open later on Friday.

Investors will be monitoring a slew of May's flash PMI (purchasing managers' index) readings out of the euro zone and the U.K. on Friday morning for an indication as to the health of the economic recovery across the continent. A flash euro zone consumer confidence reading is published at 3 p.m. London time.

U.K. retail sales jumped 9.2% in April, double the average projection in a Reuters poll of economists, official data showed Friday, indicating that pent-up consumer demand is beginning to kick in.

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European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will hold a press conference following a Eurogroup meeting of European finance ministers at noon London time.

The European Union on Thursday agreed a deal on Covid-19 passes intended to permit tourism across the bloc this summer, as the vaccination rollout gathers pace.

Germany's BioNTech on Thursday said the Covid-19 vaccine it developed alongside Pfizer is likely to be equally as effective against the new virus variant first discovered in India as it was against the one found in South Africa.

Earnings on Friday came from Nationwide Building Society and Richemont.

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