European shares struggle to gain, PMI data awaited

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
European shares struggle to gain, PMI data awaited
Credit: © Reuters.

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Aug 21 (Reuters) - European shares were flat on Friday ahead of business activity data that could throw light on the pace of economic recovery in the continent, while a stronger pound dragged UK's exporter-heavy FTSE 100 lower.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX was up 0.1% by 0720 GMT, still reeling from weak U.S. data and downbeat tone from the U.S. Federal Reserve that sparked a selloff on Thursday.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE slipped 0.3% even as data showed retail sales surged past their pre-coronavirus level in July, although economists feared the broad recovery could prove temporary. eyes will be on the Markit's flash survey of European purchasing managers in August, which is expected to show that a pick-up in business activity stagnated in August after a rebound in July.

Travel and leisure stocks .SXTP were the biggest sectoral gainers, up 1.2%, but losses in financial services .SXFP and telecoms .SXKP dragged on the broader index.

Irish building and insulation materials firm Kingspan KSP.I jumped 5.5% after its chief executive said the company saw significant pent up demand post-lockdown. drugmaker Novartis NOVN.S gave the biggest boost to the STOXX 600 after it won U.S. health regulator's approval to repurpose an 11-year-old blood cancer drug against multiple sclerosis.

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