European stocks fall; slowdown fears grow despite U.K. avoiding recession

  • Stock Market News
European stocks fall; slowdown fears grow despite U.K. avoiding recession
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets fell Friday, as U.K. economic weakness in December added to concerns about a global recession this year.

At 03:20 ET (08:20 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.4% lower, the CAC 40 in France dropped 0.3% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. fell 0.4%.

Economic data released earlier Friday showed that the U.K. narrowly avoided falling into a technical recession in the final quarter of 2022, as the country's economy showed zero growth during those last three months of the year, after falling 0.3% in the July-September period.

That said, the economy contracted sharply in December, dropping 0.5% on the month , suggesting that this is merely delaying the inevitable.

The Bank of England forecast last week that Britain would enter a shallow but lengthy recession, starting in the first quarter of this year and lasting five quarters.

On a broader note, a series of Federal Reserve policymakers have been keen this week to express their desire for further rate hikes to combat inflation , potentially causing a drastic slowdown in the world’s largest economy and major growth driver.

In the corporate sector, Credit Suisse (SIX: CSGN ) stock fell a further 1%, continuing Thursday's sharp selloff, after the Swiss lender booked its biggest annual loss since the 2008 financial crisis.

The scandal-hit bank also warned on Thursday that a further "substantial" loss was likely this year given the levels of outflows, prompting Swiss regulator FINMA to say it "monitors banks very closely during such situations".

Remaining in the banking sector, Standard Chartered (LON: STAN ) stock fell 5.8% after First Abu Dhabi Bank, the United Arab Emirates' biggest lender, said it was not currently evaluating a possible offer for the U.K. lender, quashing speculation of a possible linkup.

Oil prices edged lower Friday on concerns of a growth slowdown in the U.S., the largest consumer in the world after initial jobless claims rose for the first time in six weeks.

That said, the crude market was still on course for a weekly gain as supply remained constrained due to disruptions in Turkey.

By 03:20 ET, U.S. crude futures fell 0.6% to $77.61 a barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 0.5% to $84.12.

However, both contracts are still set to record gains of over 5% this week, helped by general optimism over a demand recovery in China and following supply disruptions caused by an earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

Additionally, gold futures traded 0.1% higher to $1,879.90/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0747.

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