European Shares Pull Back Ahead of Key Data

By Mike Bird and Lucy Craymer Features Dow Jones Newswires

European stocks dipped as markets opened Tuesday, despite fresh record highs for U.S. equities Monday.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell by 0.2% as trading began, led by a 0.5% drop in France's CAC 40 index. Investors are awaiting key pieces of European economic data scheduled for later Tuesday morning.

U.K. inflation figures will be released at 9 a.m. London time, with investors expecting consumer price inflation of around 2.6%, the highest since 2013.

Eurozone GDP figures will follow at 10 a.m., and analysts have forecast a 0.5% expansion in the first quarter of the year, equaling growth in the final quarter of 2016.

In foreign exchange markets, the euro again broke above the $1.10 mark, up 0.36%. The broad WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of international currencies, was down 0.29%

In Asia-Pacific markets, Chinese stocks ticked higher, with the Shenzhen A Share index up 1.93%. Korea's KOSPI index ended up 0.2%.

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Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.25%, but closed just shy of the 20,000 mark, which it last reached in 2015.

A boost from commodity-exposed stocks lifted Australia's S&P/ASX 200 by 0.24%.

Oil prices ended Monday up around 2% after the world's biggest crude producers, Russia and Saudi Arabia, said they agreed that production cuts should be extended into March 2018.

WTI crude oil prices continued to rise Tuesday, climbing to 0.5% at $49.10 a barrel in early European trading, while Brent crude rose by 0.1% to $51.85.

Despite indications the production cap will be extended--and expectations of increased second-half demand--investors should remain cautious, said Stuart Ive, private client manager at OM Financial in New Zealand.

"OPEC meets on the May 25 so the market will want official confirmation of the deal rollover," Mr. Ive said.

Write to Mike Bird at Mike.Bird@wsj.com and Lucy Craymer at Lucy.Craymer@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 16, 2017 03:41 ET (07:41 GMT)