Europe open: Stocks flat to slightly weaker after China data, UK inflation
European stocks were flat to slightly lower in early trade on Wednesday as investors sifted through a raft of disappointing Chinese data and the latest UK inflation reading.
At 0935 BST, the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.1% at 467.05, Germany’s DAX was flat at 15,720.93 and France’s CAC 40 was 0.2% weaker at 6,642.50.
Data released out of China earlier showed that retail sales growth fell to 2.5% on the year in August, from 8.5% in July, coming in well below consensus expectations of 7.0%. Meanwhile, industrial production growth slowed to 5.3% in August from 6.4% the month before, versus expectations of 5.8%.
Fixed asset investment growth was 8.9% in August, down from 10.3% in July and more or less in line with consensus of 9.0%.
In the UK, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed consumer price inflation saw its biggest increase in August since records began in 1997.
CPI rose to 3.2% from 2% in July, coming in well above the Bank of England’s 2% target and consensus expectations of 2.9%.
The ONS said the inflation rate was driven higher by higher food and restaurant prices, but that this is likely to be a temporary change. Eating out at restaurants last month cost more than it did last year, when the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme was in place.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "European markets are flat at the open this morning as UK inflation surged to a record high in August and Chinese economic data was soft.
"Asian stocks were weaker again following another soft session on Wall Street. Macau casino stocks the latest to plummet on a Beijing crackdown - Wynn Macau -27%, Sands China -31% - leaving the Hang Seng down 2%.
"Evergrande shares fell another 5%. Apple unveiled new products, more spending on content. Shares fell 1%, taking losses over the last five days to more than 5%. The stock these days has a look of a safe utility and it always does badly on the September product day."
In equity markets, Swedish fashion retailer H&M was in the red after its quarterly sales rose less than expected.
Zara owner Inditex gained ground after it hailed record sales in the second quarter, while Swedish Match rallied after saying it will spin off its US cigar business to shareholders.