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Title: European Stocks Lower; Industrial Output Data Point to Economic Slowdown

Jan 07, 2022 03:37AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

European stock markets weakened on Friday, weighed down by disappointing regional economic data ahead of the release of key US jobs data for December.

At 3:40 AM ET (0840 GMT), Germany's DAX traded 0.6% lower, France's CAC 40 fell 0.3%, and the UK's FTSE 100 dropped 0.2%.

Data from the euro zone's largest economy showed on Friday that German industrial production fell 0.2% in November from a month earlier, a sharp drop from October's 2.4% rise.

The weakness was also seen in France, where industrial production fell 0.4% month-on-month in November after rising 0.9% the previous month.

Still, Friday's losses were small as many investors kept their powder dry ahead of Friday's release of the much-watched US labor market data, especially after the Federal Reserve cited the tight labor market as the main reason for its tightening stance in December.

Payrolls are expected to have risen by 400,000 in December, almost double the disappointing 210,000 increase in November, and the unemployment rate is expected to have fallen to 4.1% from 4.2%.

However, Wednesday's private labor market report, which is often used to guide the government's report, showed that businesses added 807,000 jobs last month, more than double the expected number, suggesting that the official figures may be revised upwards.

In corporate news, shares in STMicroelectronics rose 3.7% after the chipmaker reported that its preliminary fourth-quarter sales were slightly above forecasts given at the end of October, amid a global supply crunch for microchips.

Despite the energy giant's announcement that it would invest the $5.5 billion proceeds from the sale of its Permian assets in a rapid share buyback, Royal Dutch Shell shares fell 0.1%.

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