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European shares suffer worst week in 2 months; tech, retail fall

·2-min read
Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

By Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) -European shares chalked up their worst week in two months on Friday, with tech stocks and retailers feeling the brunt of selling on the prospect of bigger interest rate hikes to tame decades-high inflation.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 1.9%, with retailers down 2.0% and technology stocks off 2.4%.

The retail index hit its lowest in two years after a string of weak earnings reports that highlighted the fallout from surging inflation, the Ukraine war and a fresh round of lockdowns in China.

Adidas dropped 3.6% as it lowered expectations for 2022 sales, with renewed COVID-related lockdowns in Greater China hitting the German sportswear company.

Tech shares took cues from declines in growth stocks on Wall Street, which were dragged down by elevated U.S. Treasury yields. [.N]

Data showed stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs growth, exacerbating fears of bigger interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to raise interest rates later this year, with some analysts expecting a hike as early as July after recent record euro zone inflation readings.

"We agree with investors that the ECB is likely to raise interest rates by 25 bp (basis points) in July," said Jack Allen-Reynolds, senior Europe economist at Capital Economics, warning the worst is yet to come for the euro zone economy.

"Shortages are likely to continue weighing on activity and higher inflation will eat further into real incomes."

Meanwhile, a recession warning from the Bank of England weighed on UK stocks. [.L]

Oil & gas stocks were among the few gainers in Europe, up 0.5% as crude prices traded above $110 a barrel ahead of an impending European Union embargo on Russian oil. [O/R]

Among other companies reporting results, ING Groep NV, the largest Dutch bank, fell 4.7% as it posted worse-than-expected quarterly net income, including a surge in provisions for bad loans due to its exposure in Russia and Ukraine.

Danish medical device maker Ambu tumbled 11.8% after providing a downbeat forecast for full-year earnings due to supply-chain issues and hospital labour shortages.

Spanish pharmaceuticals company Grifols gained 9.4% as it reported the volumes of blood plasma it collected reached pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Mark Potter)

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