European stocks closed sharply lower on Friday, widening recent losses amid growing concerns about growth, rising inflation and rising interest rates.
Remaining concerns about the impact of the Covid blockade in China, the ongoing war in Ukraine and tough sanctions against Russia, including the embargo on Russian oil, have also contributed to bearish sentiment in markets.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 1.91%. The British FTSE 100 fell 1.54%, the German DAX fell 1.64%, the French CAC 40 fell 1.73% and the Swiss SMI lost 1.24%.
Among other markets in Europe with sharp and medium losses closed Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
Portugal climbed higher and Poland closed.
In the UK market, IAG fell more than 8% after reporting an operating loss of 787 million euros in the first quarter of 2022.
RightMove fell 7.6%. Segro, Aveva Group, Auto Trader Group, Croda International, RS Group, B&M European Value Retail, Intertek Group, Ashtead Group, Hargreaves Lansdown, Ferguson, Halma and Diageo lost 4 to 7%.
Prudential, WPP, Barratt Developments, 3I Group, BT Group, Ocado Group, Experian and Dechra Pharmaceuticals also fell sharply.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals grew by almost 3%, BP by 1.85%, and Avast, Endeavor Mining, Mondi, Admiral Group and Fresnillo by 1-1.5%.
In the French market, AXA ended up almost 8%. Pernod Ricard, Dassault Systemes, Publicis Groupe, L’Oreal, Teleperformance, Veolia, Hermes International, CapGemini, Legrand and Sanofi lost 2 to 5%.
Faurecia, Valeo and Renault rose 2-3%. Societe Generale, Danone and WorldLine have posted modest gains.
In Germany, Zalando, Vonovia, Deutsche Wohnen, SAP, Siemens Healthineers, Merck, Fresenius, Symrise and Deutsche Post lost 2 to 5%.
Adidas fell nearly 4% after a warning that its operating profit this year would be lower than previously expected.
Henkel rose more than 3%. Continental and BMW also closed with strong growth.
In economic news, data published by Destatis show that German industrial production in March fell by 3.9% over the same period last year, much more than the forecast of economists at -1% and cancel the revised growth of 0.1% in February. Compared to the same period last year, industrial production fell by 3.5% after growing by 3.1% in February.
Housing prices in the UK rose in April for the tenth consecutive month, the longest band since late 2016, according to a survey by a subsidiary of Llyods Bank Halifax.
Housing prices in April rose 1.1% from the previous month, down from 1.5% in March. The monthly rate was projected to fall to 0.7%. The average property price has reached a new record high of 286,079 pounds.
Construction activity in the UK saw strong growth in April, but the pace of recovery lost momentum amid weak new orders, according to a survey by S&P Global. The index of construction procurement managers fell to 58.2 in April from 59.1 in March. A score above 50.0 indicates expansion.
According to a report by the Secretariat of State for Economic Affairs, or SECO, the unemployment rate in Switzerland remained unchanged in April and stood at 2.2% seasonally adjusted as in March. This was in line with the forecasts of economists.
On an unadjusted basis, the unemployment rate fell slightly to 2.3% in April from 2.4% in the previous month.
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