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European Equities Close Modestly Higher in Thursday Trading; Data Shows UK Dipped Into Recession in H2 of 2023


Last updated: 03/28/2024 13:19:08

01:19 PM EDT, 03/28/2024 (MT Newswires) -- The European stock markets closed higher in Thursday trading as The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.23%, the Swiss Market Index gained 0.21%, France's CAC nudged 0.01% higher, the FTSE in London was up 0.26%, and Germany's DAX closed 0.15% higher.

In the UK, the gross domestic product declined an estimated 0.3% in Q4 of 2023, following a 0.1% dip in the previous quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics. That the economy decreased for two consecutive quarters indicates that Britain dipped into a recession to end 2023. Despite the declines in Q3 and Q4, the ONS said GDP for 2023 as a whole increased an estimated 0.1% from 2022.

In Germany, price-adjusted and nominal retail sales were down 1.9% and 1.8% respectively in February, compared with January, according to preliminary results from the Federal Statistical Office. Compared with a year earlier, the retail sector recorded a decline in sales of 2.7% in real terms and 0.4% in nominal terms.

The FSO also reported that approximately 45.7 million people living in Germany were employed in February, which was 14,000 higher than the previous month. In January, the number of people in employment rose by 56,000 from the previous month.

In Italy, industrial producer prices declined 1.0% in February, compared with the previous month, according to the Italian National Institute of Statistics. Compared with the same month a year ago, industrial producer prices fell 10.8%.

Istat also reported that the consumer confidence index declined to 96.5 in March from 97.0 the previous month.

And in corporate news, shares of JD Sports Fashion surged nearly 16% on the FTSE in London in Thursday's trading session after the UK-based retailer said it expects trading conditions will improve in 2024. The company said it expects higher sales to be spurred by a "busy sporting summer" that includes the UEFA European Football Championship in June and the 2024 Paris Olympics in July.

Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson (ERIC) said Thursday that the independent compliance monitor appointed by the US Department of Justice in 2020 has certified the company's anti-corruption compliance program. The role of the monitor is to review, assess, evaluate, and test all aspects of the company's anti-corruption compliance program and internal controls.

UK-based biopharmaceutical company Biodexa Pharmaceuticals (BDRX) said Thursday that early trials of MTX110, which it is developing to treat two aggressive brain cancers with universally poor prognoses, show promise in extending survival rates beyond those reported in previously published studies.

A German court ruled Thursday that automaker Mercedes-Benz is liable to owners of some of its diesel cars that had been installed with a device that interfered with emissions-reducing controls, Bloomberg reported. The lawsuit was filed by consumer group VZBV.

Mining stocks rallied in London as Fresnillo and Antofagasta rose 2.8% and 2.7% respectively, followed by Endeavour Mining, which gained 1.5%, and Glencore and Anglo American, which were up 1.5% each.

Banking stocks also trended higher as Societe Generale increased 2.3% in Paris, followed by BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole, which rose 1.8% each, while NatWest was up 1% in London.
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