European stock benchmarks slipped on Friday, after lackluster French GDP and inflation data and a mixed set of corporate earnings reports.
The French economy expanded by 0.2% in the third quarter, up from a 0.1% contraction in the previous three months but below the 0.3% growth expected, statistics agency Insee said. Meanwhile inflation held at 0.5% in October, preliminary data showed, disappointing those looking for a 0.6% reading.
The CAC 40 was recently down 0.22% at 4,523.42. In Frankfurt the DAX was down 0.76% at 10,636.04 and in London the FTSE 100 fell 0.56% at 10,636.04. GfK's U.K. consumer confidence index showed the weaker pound and worries about a "hard" Brexit could be beginning to bite, as the barometer of sentiment fell to minus 3 from minus 1. But that's still well above the minus 9 level the index fell to immediately after the Brexit vote.
In the pharmaceuticals sector Novo Nordisk (NVO) - Get Novo Nordisk A/S Report fell as much as 20% in Copenhagen after the company cut earnings and sales forecasts for this year and next because of price competition in the U.S.
U.K. lender RBS (RBS) - Get Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc Report was up more than 4% in early trading in London and recently traded 2.7% higher after it beat profit expectations and swung into the black at operating earnings level in the third quarter. Rival bank UBS (UBS) - Get UBS Group AG Registered Report pared early gains in Zurich to trade up marginally after it beat forecasts by most measures in the third quarter, but missed on net profit, and gave another gloomy assessment of the outlook.
Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) - Get Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA Sponsored ADR (Belgium) Report was down almost 5% after the maker of Budweiser missed quarterly expectations and downgraded its sale outlook for its own business this year, not including recently acquired SABMiller.
Oil producer Eni was down more than 2% and larger rival Total fell 1% after both companies reported quarterly figures.
U.S. stock futures were down ahead of third-quarter U.S. GDP figures later today, with the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 mini both down 0.18% and the S&P 500 mini down 0.15%. Analysts are expecting annualized GDP growth of 2.5%, up from 1.4% in the second quarter.
Oil edged lower, with Brent crude recently down 0.34% at $50.30 a barrel.
Asian stocks had closed mixed, with the Nikkei 225 up 0.73% as semiconductor groups led by Sumco rose after Qualcomm's (QCOM) - Get QUALCOMM Incorporated Report deal yesterday to buy the Netherlands' NXPSemiconductors (NXPI) - Get NXP Semiconductors N.V. Report for $47 billion but the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was down 1.08%. On mainland China the CSI 300 was down 0.17% at 3,340.13.
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