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Stocks slide on China data

Roland JACKSON
 

World stock markets mostly fell Thursday on disappointing Chinese economic data, but London paused before a British interest rate decision, dealers said.

Asian equities also declined on profit-taking, having rebounded earlier this week on easing North Korea tensions and relief that Hurricane Irma had not been as devastating to Florida as feared.

Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks each slid 0.4 percent in value after a disappointing print on Chinese factory production, retail sales and state investment.

The negative sentiment spilled over into Europe, but London flatlined before the latest Bank of England (BoE (Shenzhen: 000725.SZ - news) ) monetary policy decision at 1100 GMT.

The BoE is expected to maintain its key interest rate at a record-low 0.25 percent despite surging inflation.

"Stock markets in Europe are slightly in the red today as the bullish momentum we witnessed at the start of the week has waned, and softer than expected economic data from China overnight has added to the negative move," said analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.

- China cause for concern -

"The cooling in the growth rate of Chinese industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment has given traders cause for concern."

The metals and mining sector was snagged by the data because China is a top consumer of many raw materials.

In Paris, steelmaker Arcelor Mittal sank 1.3 percent to 22.62 euros. Germany's Thyysenkrupp dipped 0.6 percent to 26.13 euros in Frankfurt.

London-listed miners Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L - news) , BHP Billiton (NYSE: BBL - news) , Glencore (Frankfurt: 8GC.F - news) and Rio Tinto (Hanover: CRA1.HA - news) all saw their share prices slide some 1.5 percent lower.

On the upside, Sky (Frankfurt: 893517 - news) rose 0.13 percent to 933.25 pence as investors shrugged off news of a formal regulatory probe into 21st Century Fox's planned takeover of the British pay-television broadcaster.

Clothing retailer Next (Frankfurt: 779551 - news) rallied 12.4 percent to 4,966 pence, topping the FTSE risers' board on upbeat first-half sales.

Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN - news) shares rose 0.4 percent to 4,863 pence after it agreed to sell the remaining rights to its anaesthetic drugs to South African peer Aspen for $555 million (466 million euros).

But Thomas Cook fell after unveiling a tie-up with US online giant Expedia (Frankfurt: A1JRLJ - news) . The travel agent, which is listed on London's second-tier FTSE 250 index, slid 0.9 percent to 118.90 pence.

Wall Street provided another positive lead overnight with a second-straight record for all three main indexes after Republicans set a September 25 target for releasing a plan to slash taxes.

The announcement fanned optimism that US President Donald Trump's market-friendly agenda to boost the economy could see the light of day.

- Key figures around 1030 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,376.40 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 12,517

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 5,208.60

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,515.40

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 19,807.44 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.4 percent at 27,777.20 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,371.43 (close)

New York - DOW: UP 0.2 percent at 22,158.18 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1906 from $1.1885 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.39 yen from 110.47 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3196 from $1.3208

Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 30 cents at $55.46 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 33 cents at $49.63

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