Europe midday: Stocks down as investors eye next week's rate announcements
European stocks were lower by midday on Friday as investors eyed rate decisions from the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve next week, and mulled the latest Chinese inflation figures.
The benchmark Stoxx 600 index, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were all down 0.3% at 459.44, 15,938.79 and 7,198.36, respectively.
Matt Britzman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Next week’s Fed meeting and inflation data will be key, markets are pricing in a rate pause with scope for further hikes down the line - Powell’s commentary will be analysed till the cows come home, expect a hawkish tone from the Fed Chairman if a pause is delivered."
Figures out earlier showed that China’s consumer price inflation rose 0.2% on the year in May, up from 0.1% in April, and versus expectations of a 0.3% increase.
Meanwhile, producer price inflation fell 4.6% following a 3.6% decline in April and versus expectations of a 4.3% drop. This marked the sharpest fall in more than seven years.
In corporate news, specialty chemicals firm Croda tanked after it warned on full-year profits, citing lower sales volumes and customer destocking. The company now expects full-year pre-tax profit of between £370m and £400m, versus consensus expectations of £440m.
Payments provider Network International surged, however, after agreeing to be taken over by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management in a £2.2bn deal.