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Stock markets mixed on eurozone, Chinese data

written by Bella Palmer

The eurozone economy fell into a second recession in less than a year in Q1 as slow vaccinations and pandemic lockdowns stopped a rebound

Stock markets were mixed Friday as traders reacted to data confirming the eurozone is back in recession, weaker-than-expected Chinese numbers and the strong US recovery.

While Europe diverged in midday deals, Asia's main equity indices closed out the week lower.

Wall Street had powered to fresh highs Thursday on news US growth had accelerated more than six percent in Q1 and jobless claims continued to drop to new pandemic-era lows.

US indices are benefitting also from outsized earnings this week from tech heavyweights Apple, Facebook and Google.

The dollar was higher against the euro on Friday, while oil prices dropped on profit-taking.

The eurozone economy fell into a second recession in less than a year in Q1, data showed, as slow vaccinations and pandemic lockdowns stopped a rebound.

Germany was the major drag on growth in the January to March period, with exports unable to overcome a steep drop in demand by confined consumers, analysts said.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index held up however, trading slightly higher nearing the half-way stage.

Confirmation that the eurozone economy contracted again means that the region suffered a second technical recession in just over a year, said Capital Economics analyst Andrew Kenningham. But the good news is that things should get better towards the end of the second quarter as the vaccination programme allows governments to lift restrictions, hopefully for the last time.

Adding to the selling pressure was a report showing slowing growth in China's factory activity owing to a global shortage of shipping containers, supply chain problems and rising freight rates.

Observers nevertheless remain upbeat about the outlook, as vast sums of government and central bank cash swirl around the world economy.

All evidence still points to continued support from both fiscal and monetary policy against a backdrop of accelerating corporate earnings, Mark Haefele, at UBS Global Wealth Management, said.

He said: This reinforces our view that markets can advance further, with cyclical parts of the market -- such as financials, energy, and value stocks -- likely to benefit most from the global upswing.


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