european stocks edge higher before g20
Last Updated : GMT 21:16:50
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

European stocks edge higher before G20

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today European stocks edge higher before G20

London - AFP

Europe's main stock markets rose slightly on Friday as traders digested mixed retail sales data out of Britain and looked ahead to a meeting of the world's 20 major economies. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed 0.22 percent to stand at 6,828.11 points in midday deals. Frankfurt's DAX 30 inched up 0.02 percent to 9,620.49 points and in Paris the CAC 40 climbed 0.24 percent to 4,365.95 compared with Thursday's closing levels. "The main focus of the European session has been driven by the UK, where the release of the retail sales figure drew increased attention," said analyst Joshua Mahony at Alpari traders. "Retail sales have always been key as a determinant of where the economy is going given that it reflects both current and future expectations for the everyday person from an employment, wage growth and inflation standpoint." British retail sales slid by 1.5 percent in January after spiking by 2.5 percent a month earlier, official data showed on Friday. They jumped by 4.3 percent in January compared with the same month in 2013, the Office for National Statistics said. Retail sales had spiked in December as shoppers spent heavily ahead of Christmas. "The Christmas period will have given a boost to December’s numbers, while January had to cope with poor weather and the traditional post-Christmas time of domestic austerity," said Chris Beauchamp, an analyst at IG trading group. "Nonetheless, the picture looks better for the UK economy at the moment, with growth still looking reasonable and weaker inflation helping to make life easier for consumers." Britain's flooding crisis, which has seen parts of the country suffering the wettest start to a year in 250 years, eased this week with the arrival of drier weather. In foreign exchange deals, the British pound firmed to $1.6675 from $1.6657 on Thursday. The euro fell to 82.28 British pence from 82.36 pence. The European single currency dipped to $1.3714 from $1.3721 late in New York on Thursday. On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold rose to $1,320.43 an ounce from $1,316.25 on Thursday. - All eyes on G20 - Recent volatility in the currencies of emerging economies will be high on the agenda as G20 central bankers and finance chiefs meet in Sydney at the weekend. Currencies from Argentina to Russia, South Africa and Turkey have been in freefall, in part because heavyweight US investors are repatriating funds in anticipation of higher returns at home as the Federal Reserve tightens years of relaxed monetary policy. On the corporate front, shares in Royal Bank of Scotland rallied 2.28 percent to 363.8 pence in Friday trading, topping London's main index, following reports that the state-rescued lender will announce next week that it is cutting its headcount by tens of thousands. RBS was rescued with £45.5 billion of British taxpayer cash at the height of the 2008 global financial crisis under the then-Labour government, making it the world's biggest-ever banking bailout. Elsewhere, shares in BAE Systems won back some ground, rising 2.0 percent to 408.5 pence, a day after the stock tumbled about 8.0 percent on a profit-warning made by the British defence group. Tokyo stocks led a rebound on Asian stock markets on Friday, reversing losses in the previous session as regional bourses took their cue from Wall Street, which shrugged off disappointing economic data. Asian markets were mostly heading for a strong finish to the week, after a downturn Thursday triggered by a trio of gloomy figures from China, the US and Japan that cast a pall over the economic outlook. Wall Street stocks rallied to a near record high Thursday, as investors put disappointing construction and unemployment figures down to the impact of the severe winter.

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