EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Drop For Second Day Ahead Of Top-tier Data

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

UBS jumps after earnings

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European stocks posted mild losses at the open on Friday, with investors staying cautious ahead of a round of key data, including U.K. economic growth numbers and eurozone inflation figures.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.2% to 387.05, set for second straight day in negative territory. The benchmark on Thursday broke a six-session win streak (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-snap-winning-streak-with-ebc-on-deck-2017-04-27) after the European Central Bank offered no surprises at its policy meeting, while a drop for Deutsche Bank AG (DBK.XE) (DBK.XE) also weighed.

Most European stock markets are closed for trade on Monday for May Day and the U.K.'s early May bank holiday. Only the Danish market is open for trade, according to index provider Stoxx (https://www.stoxx.com/document/Resources/Methodology/Dissemination/Realtime_Data/dissemination_calendar_2017.pdf).

Economic news: Attention on Friday turned to updates on the health of the European economy. The U.K. gross domestic product for the first quarter due at 9:30 a.m. London time, or 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time, is forecast to show a slide to 0.4% growth from 0.7% in the previous quarter as consumers rein in spending.

Analysts said a disappointing reading could yank the pound (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-gdp-to-slow-as-consumers-crack-down-on-spending-2017-04-27) back to $1.26. But sterling was pushing higher ahead of the report, buying $1.2937. That's up from $1.2905 late Thursday in New York.

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The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index was down 0.3% to 7,212.52 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-falls-as-barclays-drops-pound-rises-ahead-of-gdp-data-2017-04-28).

At 10 a.m., the closely watched eurozone inflation report comes out. Consumer prices are expected to have risen 1.8% in April, up from 1.5% in March. ECB President Mario Draghi in his press conference on Thursday stressed there is still no "convincing upward trend" in underlying inflation in the eurozone, reiterating that it's too soon to scale back the bank's aggressive stimulus program.

Read:ECB live blog recap: Mario Draghi sees diminished downside economic risks (http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2017/04/27/ecb-live-blog-mario-draghi-expected-to-avoid-taper-talk/)

French inflation data out earlier on Friday came in at 1.4% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/french-inflation-rises-01-misses-expectations-2017-04-28), in line with forecasts.

In other economic news, German retail sales rose 0.1% in March (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-retail-sales-nudge-higher-in-march-2017-04-28)on the month, beating forecasts of a flat reading.

France's CAC 40 index rose 0.1% to 5,275.86. Germany's DAX 30 index was down 0.1% at 12,433.93.

Weekly win: The pan-European benchmark was set for a 2.4% weekly gain following a strong rally at the start of week after centrist Emmanuel Macron came out on top in the first round of the French presidential election. Macron is expected to win the runoff round against far-right Marine Le Pen on May 7, easing fears of a so-called Frexit.

For April, the benchmark was on track for a 1.6% rise.

Movers: Shares of UBS Group AG (UBS) jumped 3.5% after the Swiss banking giant reported earnings well ahead of forecasts due to strong income growth in its investment-banking and wealth-management units.

On a more downbeat note in the banking space, shares of Barclays PLC (BCS) (BCS) slid 4.8% after the U.K. lender said its net profit fell by more than half in the first quarter of the year. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/barclays-profit-slides-on-write-down-shares-fall-2017-04-28)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 28, 2017 04:17 ET (08:17 GMT)