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Global stocks drift lower on global growth concerns

Stock markets around the world and oil prices were weighed down Friday by concerns over the global economy ahead of a raft of U.S. and Chinese economic data.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.1 percent at 9,875 but the CAC-40 in France fell 0.2 percent to 4,283. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.4 percent lower at 6,081. Wall Street was headed for a lower opening, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.3 percent.

US RETAIL SALES: How Wall Street actually opens may depend on retail sales figures due an hour before the bell. The consensus in the markets is that U.S. retail sales held up relatively well in April, rising by a monthly 0.6 percent. There’s also producer price data due at the same time, which may influence markets given the Federal Reserve’s current focus on inflation.

ANALYST TAKE: “The consumer is a key pillar of growth for the U.S. and the absence of wage growth and spending has been a key factor that has held the economy back in recent years,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA. “Retail sales have again been reasonable this year but haven’t instilled confidence in the markets that the economy is on a strong footing, hence the constant belief that the Fed will hold off on raising rates until the end of the year.”

GLOBAL WORRIES: In addition, investors will have a raft of Chinese economic data over the weekend to digest when they return to their desks on Monday. Earlier Friday, the eurozone’s quarterly growth rate in the first quarter was revised down to 0.5 percent from 0.6 percent.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 255 index lost 1.4 percent to close at 16,412.21 and South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.5 percent to 1,966.99. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1 percent to 19,719.29 while the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China dipped 0.3 percent to 2,827.11. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 retreated 0.6 percent to 5,329.00.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell after hitting its highest price since early November. Oil futures fell 54 cents or 1.1 percent to $46.16 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, lost 33 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $47.75 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.1343 while the dollar fell 0.1 percent to 108.90 yen.


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