Europe midday: Stocks dip, traders hesitant
Stocks are trading just slightly lower come midday, with traders drawing a degree of comfort from the slight bid evident in US equity futures before the opening bell on Wall Street.
Nevertheless, in the background Thursday's sharp drop in US stocks is very much on investors minds, with the apparent face-off between central bankers and financial markets as yet unresolved, as the former lean against simmering inflation worries and the latter continue to price-in a more gradual pace of tightening that policymakers appear to think wise.
As of 1056 GMT, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was down by 0.45% or 1.67 points at 372.36, alongside a dip of 0.36% or 43.17 points on the German Dax to 12,216.74.
Further out on the periphery, the FTSE Mibtel was off by just 0.23% or 53.55 points at 22,43.05 and the Cac-40 by 0.46% at 5,128.63.
Meanwhile, across the Pond, Fed funds futures were still only discounting two 25 basis point rate hikes in 2018 with even odds of a third, contrary to many commentators' speculations around three or even four hikes.
Economic data was thin on the ground at the end of the week, with investors focused on the latest industrial production figures out of France and Italy.
According to INSEE, industrial production in France advanced at a 0.5% month-on-month clip in December, as expected.
Down in Italy on the other hand, ISTAT reported that total output was ahead by 1.6% month-on-month (consensus: 0.8%) in December.
In the corporate headlines, according to Reuters Italy's Atlantia clinched the financing needed to up its takeover bid for Spain's Abertis.
Elsewhere in Italy, Eni denied all allegations that it had attempted to meddle in judicial allegations.
Local Carrefour rival Leclerc posted a 2% rise in full-year 2017 sales to reach €37.2bn.