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Article submitted by Rodrick Duca
Equities on major European stock markets finished the trading day on Friday with losses, as concerns over the possibility of car tariffs on European cars introduced by the United States. German Association of Automotive Industry said earlier that additional tariffs would put jobs in the United States at risk. German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that tariffs on European cars would violate World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, and added that countermeasures are being prepared for that scenario. Investors are also following developments in the Washington-Beijng trade dialogue. Meanwhile, European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, endorsed the United Kingdom's white paper on the withdrawal from the bloc.
The DAX was down 0.98% at the closing bell. ThyssenKrupp led the losses with a 3.06% drop, followed by automakers Daimler and Volkswagen who lost 2.35% and 2.26%, respectively. The FTSE 100 ended Friday's session slightly below the flatline, sliding 0.06%. Business services group Rentokil Initial was down 2.02%. The CAC 40 fell 0.35%. Automotive supplier Valeo lost 3.29%, followed by Peugeot's drop of 2.27%.
Thursday's European Central Bank meeting would usually be the main event. It has been rendered less important by the last meeting, however, where ECB President Mario Draghi announced the end of the central bank's asset purchase programme at the end of this year, although interest rates will remain at their current levels through the summer of 2019, at least.
The principal economic data points through the week include Eurozone consumer confidence and US existing home sales on Monday; then Eurozone flash PMIs surveys and UK CBI Industrial Trends on Tuesday; Wednesday sees Germany's IFO survey and a UK retail survey from the CBI, plus US new home sales; Thursday's US durable goods; and finishing the week with UK Nationwide house prices, US gross domestic product and the University of Michigan sentiment index.
Earnings Season in the UK
The results season kick off for London-listed stocks, with the likes of media and tech stocks BT, ITV, Pearson and Vodafone, defensive favourites AstraZeneca, BATS, Diageo and GlaxoSmithKline.
Vodafone and BT investors will be seeking reassurance from the first-quarter figures after the announcement of a change at the top caused differing reactions, with VOD shares down around a quarter since the start of the year and BT's looking for a similar slide until rallying a little as CEO Gavin Patterson got a big shareholders warning of running out of patience as the telecom group’s shares languish at a six-year low following a string of damaging setbacks.
AstraZeneca and Diageo meanwhile are trading around all-time highs and could push on or be knocked off their perches by these numbers.
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