(RTTNews) – European stocks fell in cautious trade on Friday as investors reacted to weak U.K. GDP data and U.S. President Joe Biden’s comments on China.
After a two-hour call with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday, Biden warned lawmakers that “If we don’t get moving, they are going to eat our lunch”.
The two leaders discussed a range of issues, including human rights, trade and security, according to the White House. Both appeared at odds on most issues.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index slid 0.4 percent to 409.73 after gaining half a percent on Thursday.
The German DAX fell 0.7 percent, France’s CAC 40 index gave up half a percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down 0.2 percent.
Dutch bank ING Groep NV surged 4 percent after its fourth-quarter profit topped analysts’ estimates.
Semiconductor company ASML Holding NV climbed 2.1 percent after its fourth-quarter sales and profit beat expectations.
Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company Norsk Hydro ASA dropped 1.7 percent after reports that around 40,000 Brazilians have filed a class-action lawsuit in the Netherlands against the company over alleged toxic waste pollution in northern Brazil.
L’Oreal shares rose 2 percent on brokerage upgrades after the cosmetics company posted higher-than-expected revenue growth for the fourth quarter.
Pharmaceutical company Sanofi edged up slightly. The company said it has made a recommended all-cash offer to all the shareholders to acquire Kiadis Pharma N.V.s’ shares at an offer price of EUR 5.45 (cum dividend) in cash per share.
In economic releases, official data showed the U.K. economy logged its biggest annual fall on record in 2020, with GDP falling 9.9 percent.