Investing.com - European stock markets traded in a mixed fashion Monday, weighed by weak German retail sales but with investors awaiting the release of key eurozone growth and inflation data.
Key eurozone data in spotlight
The week has started on a negative note Monday after the release of disappointing retail sales from Germany, illustrating the current economic difficulties suffered by the eurozone's largest economy.
German retail sales fell 0.8% on the month in June, weaker than the 0.2% rise expected, an annual drop of 1.6%.
The ECB raised interest rates to a 23-year high last week, and President Christine Lagarde indicated during the subsequent press conference that future decisions would be data-dependent.
At the next meeting in September, “there could be a further hike of the policy rate or perhaps a pause,” she told Le Figaro newspaper Sunday. “A pause, whenever it occurs, in September or later, would not necessarily be definitive.”
This brings into focus key eurozone growth and inflation data, due later in the session.
The flash eurozone GDP is seen rising 0.2% on the quarter in the second quarter, an annual gain of 0.5%, while annual eurozone consumer inflation is forecast at 5.3% for July, from 5.5% the previous month.
Chinese economic weakness hits sentiment
Risk appetite had also been hit earlier Monday by the release of data showing that activity in China’s important manufacturing sector fell for a fourth straight month in July, raising further doubts about the durability of the recovery of the second-biggest economy in the world.
The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index edged up to 49.3 in July from 49.0 in June, but that was still below the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction.
The Chinese economy is an important market for European exporters, and growth slowed to 0.8% in the June quarter from a 2.2% quarter-on-quarter clip in the prior quarter.
Heineken cuts earnings guidance
In the corporate sector, Heineken (AS: HEIN ) stock slumped 5% after the world’s second-largest brewer cut its forecast for 2023 profit growth after a weak performance in its Asian markets in the second quarter.
Pearson (LON: PSON ) stock fell 0.7% despite the education publisher reporting a 44% jump in first-half profit, and maintaining its sales and profit targets. Confidence in the company's outlook had been hit by a U.S. rival saying that artificial intelligence was hitting its business.
BT Group (LON: BT ) stock fell 0.6% after the telecommunications titan appointed Allison Kirkby as chief executive, replacing Philip Jansen. Kirkby had previously served as CEO of Swedish telecoms provider Telia (ST: TELIA ).
Crude market on track for hefty monthly gain
Oil prices fell Monday after the glum Chinese manufacturing activity data pointed to a deteriorating economic outlook for the world’s largest crude importer.
However, the crude market is on track for its biggest monthly gain in over a year on expectations of tightening global supply with Saudi Arabia seen as likely to extend its production cuts into September.
Both contracts settled on Friday at their highest levels since April, gaining for a fifth straight week, and are on track to close this month with their biggest monthly gains since January 2022.
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